Like the Catholic Church, Banning Drag Won’t ‘Protect Kids’

Abi Hilden, features editor

Indoctrination. Abuse. Problematic.

Personally, I believe that these words perfectly describe the Catholic church, but according to Republican lawmakers across the country, they are the descriptors that should be attached to drag performances. Now, just so we’re all on the same page, a drag performance is defined as “a type of entertainment where people dress up and perform, often in highly stylized ways,” according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Drag performances typically include performers wearing clothing of the opposite gender and doing dances or even lip syncing to popular songs.

Drag is an art form that dates back centuries. It is a liberating point of expression for many and a celebration of everything that makes the queer community amazing. It’s also under attack. How could that be, it’s 2023 after all? Haven’t we as a society progressed past homophobia and transphobia? Nope, not even close. Let me explain.

The attack on drag comes in the form of laws being introduced in many states across the country. Some want to ban the performance of drag in public places where children could see the performances, while others want to ban it altogether. One thing that I want to make clear is that no matter what these bills are trying to accomplish, they are all extremely ridiculous.

For one thing, lawmakers championing these bills are claiming that they want to “protect children” from sexually explicit activities. The thing that they fail to realize is that drag is not inherently sexually explicit. Let me rephrase that in a way that’s easy to understand: drag is an INNOCENT method of performance. Any sexually explicit materials in a drag show are kept to venues for adults eyes only like strip clubs or gay bars. No drag queen is doing anything revealing at a Sunday morning drag brunch because that is not the time nor the place for that.

Also, if lawmakers are so concerned about protecting kids, how about they take a look at the Catholic church and ban kids from going there instead? Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the Catholic church has a history of abuse of children, and it is not getting any better. Why are lawmakers so bent up about someone in heels lip syncing to Miley Cyrus on a Sunday morning when down the street in the church there’s a kid being taught that Jesus will only love him if he keeps quiet about what the priest is doing behind closed doors?

But that’s not all. Last time I checked, we still operate under the First Amendment which protects freedom of speech and expression. Are performances and transitively drag performances not forms of speech and expression? Are they not protected under our Constitutional rights? According to lawmakers in the states trying to ban it, the answer is a resounding no.

Everyday, I fear more and more for the queer people in this country, including myself. Everyday, we are seeing our rights stripped from us and it is terrifying. However, this battle is far from over because if you know anything about queer people, we never go down without a fight.