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4

this_one wrote

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I skimmed over it after reading the first [editor's note] (gross gross gross). I don't like the idea of an 11-year-old "dressed in drag danc[ing] on stage in a sexual manner [to an adult audience]" at all, but this seems like an intensely queerphobic publication, so I'm not sure it can be trusted.

The source they used for that story was a "The Daily Wire" story, within 1 click of which I was able to navigate to a page that says, "How many genders are there? There are two..." (yuck yuck yuck), so I get the feeling that might also be a queerphobic publication. Also, for some reason they spend half the article talking about the bar's weird cellphone policy for some reason.

That Daily Wire article links to some (old) stories from "left-wing" sites (at least, they seem to think they're left-wing) about the same kid, but their actual source for this particular event is a youtuber who, judging off the title of their videos, including "VLOG: Going to Vote straight Red IN 2018 MIDTERMS VLOG" I'm going to assume might be queerphobic. Reluctantly, I watch his video, "Slippery Mets Slope - Drag Kid Desmond is Amazing "PERFORM" at Adult Gay bay", to find his sources.

His first source is a yelp review, apparently for the event. His second is the kid's instagram (as well as one other instagram "nudus.elit" that now seems to be deleted). That yelp review for the bar doesn't exist any more. On the kid's instagram is this post which reads:

Hi, it's mom. I can't believe I have to type this. Articles have been coming out claiming that my son danced half naked and stripped in a sleazy gay bar for grown men who threw dollars at him and is being exploited and forced to perform. THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN BLATANT HOMOPHOBIA and display of the grossly outdated belief that gay men are pedophiles. The truth is, Desmond is a professional drag performer. No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do. He was a ballet dancer for four years and is currently earning an A+ grade in drama at his school. He is extremely talented in his celebrity and character impersonations. His costumes are less revealing than a dancer's or cheerleader's uniform, and are always age appropriate. While he dances, he does not move in a sexual manner. He often collects tips, as drag queens sometimes do, which we allow him to keep and he uses to buy clothing and the toy trains he wants. His engagements are contracted and booked by his management agency. All of his performances are conducted in accordance with the Dept of Labor's regulations for child performers. Desmond is never allowed into the bar area of any club, nor the main floor. He stays backstage with me, in the dressing room, or on stage only. It must be noted, however, that it is not illegal in NYC for a minor to be in an establishment that serves alcohol as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Desmond was the sole performer for the event at the center of this controversy and he performed 3 numbers. The venue took measures to make sure it would be age appropriate and audience members that attended were respectful and in good conduct. The performance was promoted and anyone who did not wish to see a drag kid perform in a club did not have to attend. No one forced you to go. I know a lot of drag fans/drag queens do not want to see kids in what they consider an adult form of entertainment or venue, but drag is changing and becoming more widespread and popular with people of all ages, genders, identities, races, abilities, and disabilities. Instead of tearing drag kids down, why not mentor them? They are the future of drag.

These are the photos I could find from the event, for anyone who wants to get a sense of what it was: [1] [2] [3] [4]

5

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Every once in a while my feed gets something bad and I repost it without knowing. I don't have the time to engage it right now but you're more that likely right! Sorry about the shitty post!

2

this_one wrote

That's ok, absolutely no judgement on you - you make a lot of posts and the vast majority of them are great. And I can definitely understand how the mistake was made - I thought based on the title it'd be interesting. It sounds like it could be something written by a "boy dancing in drag in a gay bar" about the tricky situations that sometimes puts them in which they have to navigate, but alas, we were both mistaken in some way.

I was kind of hoping there'd be a discussion to be had (maybe there still could be, although with this article off the front page, idk how many people will be seeing this comment) about how the culture at large sexualises kids (especially girls), and how young drag queens can enter into femininity while avoiding sexualisation.

2

Tequila_Wolf wrote

That's ok, absolutely no judgement on you

I didn't think you were judging me :) just wanted to be clear about it.

Feel welcome to write up a post about it for discussion.

3

alex_ wrote

yeah i read this and saw it was being upvoted so i just assumed there was something i wasn’t getting. it’s a christian fundamentalist site citing Ben Shapiro’s conservative site. still confused.

2

this_one wrote

I am curious to hear queer voices on this topic (or at the bare minimum, not actively queerphobic ones), because I think it is important to talk about stuff like this.

No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.

Is good to hear, but I'm skeptical of a parent saying this (rather than the child themself) It might well be true, but yeah. It feels exploitative to me for any kid to be doing so much at such a young age. I worry it'd turn out like other kinds of 'child stars' (see: Hollywood). My bigger issue, though, is with two points at the end of the instagram post. Firstly:

The performance was promoted and anyone who did not wish to see a drag kid perform in a club did not have to attend. No one forced you to go.

Doesn't that mean that the only people who would have gone would be people who want to see a child do drag? The thought makes me uncomfortable. I'm by no means saying everyone who wants to see kids do drag is a pedo, but if you were a pedo, that might be something you wanted to see. I'm not sure if I take issue more with the actual idea of the event, or just the fact that this argument is being used to defend it. I think it's a bad argument. My second issue is with this:

I know a lot of drag fans/drag queens do not want to see kids in what they consider an adult form of entertainment or venue, but drag is changing and becoming more widespread and popular with people of all ages, genders, identities, races, abilities, and disabilities.

If you want to promote the idea that drag isn't inherently 'for adults' or whatever, wouldn't it make more sense to put on a drag show that non-adults are at all likely to attend? I like the idea of drag being more inclusive/accessible, but I don't think this event was a very effective way of achieving that.

-1

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