Drag queens are represented in pop culture more than ever before, largely in part to the success of the hit reality TV show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Still, even with wider overall acceptance in society, much of the public is speaking out against this social acceptance, especially as it relates to young children. On any given day, media outlets are filled with stories of contentious drag queen events inside schools, or just in general targeted as kid-friendly – as many families fear they are not. As more and more people decry their attempts to naturalize their existence to younger generations, drag queens across the nation are stepping up, “digging their heels” in and affirming their place in society.
Much of the contentious topics that have woven education into political debates this past year have centered around the drag queen community. Opposers have touted these individuals as groomers, pedophiles, and much more, saying they are imposing gender ideologies on children, and oftentimes call it a form of indoctrination. Popular social media accounts like Libs of TikTok have made it a goal to expose any form of drag found inside schools, libraries, or basically anything that is considered kid friendly. Much of the tension has culminated in the last few weeks, as performers are seen front and center for pride events during National Pride Month.
This past weekend, a Drag Queen Story Hour event held inside a public library near San Francisco turned frightful for participants, as a group of men the Associated Press reports were affiliated members of the Proud Boy organization disrupted the kid-friendly event. Interrupting the reading, the men, touting rifles and shirts that read things like “Kill Your Local Pedophile” began shouting insults at the drag queens. Panda Dulce,the drag queen reading at the time, discussed the irony of the incident, as the children who witnessed it were fearful, and rightfully so, of the men with the guns, not of the drag queen reading them fairytale stories.
The incident is currently being addressed as a hate crime. And although Panda Dulce iterated how afraid she remains after that day, she plans to go on with her volunteer work reading stories to children. Furthermore, organizers of the nonprofit group in turn have vowed to hold more Pride events through the rest of the year, with added security measures to ensure attendee’s safety.
Additionally, drag queens in Texas are speaking out against Republican lawmakers who are hinting at introducing new legislation that would ban any minor child in the state from attending any type of drag queen event. In the wake of a recent event in which a Dallas bar hosted a family-friendly daytime drag queen event for pride month, Rep. Bryan Slaton responded vowing to bring forth legislation aimed at barring this. For those opposed to the sweeping legislation aimed at limiting what accepting parents can expose their children to, many questions the real motives of the conservative party, which claims to be all for freedom of choice in the land of the free.
Advocates for the drag queen community feel that this rhetoric mimics an age-old sentiment latching on to the popular “anti-gay crusaders” witnessed in the 1970s. They fear that it is being used by politicians to scare evangelic voters into showing up and voting out of fear that if they do not, drag queens, and the LGBTQ+ community will run amuck in public schools, and bring contentious sexual topics to the forefront of lessons.
Still, there is no denying that there is quite definitively an uptick in findings of drag queen events taking aim at the youth of America. But whether or not these events are truly bringing contentious, sexual topics to children seems to be subjective. Either way, the drag community is not backing down and is continuing its crusade to end the negative stigma surrounding them.