Columnist discusses her upbringing with drag.


As someone who grew up with drag all around them as a child, trust me, I’m alright. I was never
unsafe or preyed on. My parents would take me to the theater when I was little to watch drag queens do backflips in stilettos, sing original songs and tell the stories of their lives through humor. I wish that people would be able to see that those who do drag don’t want anything other than to entertain,
just as any other performer does. If our country is so hell-bent on protecting children, then they should be working towards restricting guns and stopping school shootings, not drag queens.

Throughout my upbringing, drag was a constant form of entertainment. My parents took me to see “Kinky Boots” on Broadway at least three times. They would blast the soundtrack everytime we were in the car, and I would beg them to find a way to go back. Since I was in middle school, I’ve spent every Friday night camped out in front of the TV to watch “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” and am so blown away
by the artistry and talent of those on screen. Two and a half years ago, my family took a road trip and made a stop in Provincetown, Massachusetts, one of the biggest drag towns in the country. My parents got us tickets to see a drag show, and of course, it didn’t disappoint. Watching those shows and
seeing that representation brought me to be more comfortable with myself, and gave me more confidence, because to me drag is all about self love.

Drag is a form of expression and entertainment. Our society has accepted drag in pop culture for decades, but when it is put in a queer space, our leg-
islatures wants to ban it. Some argue that drag is not for kids, and they’re correct in some ways. Not all drag is appropriate for children, and the drag queens putting on those shows make that clear. But a drag queen reading books to kids at a library does no harm, and if anything is teaching chil-
dren about the diverse world that we live in.

In early March 2023, Tennessee governor Bill Lee signed a bill restricting drag shows on public prop-
erty. Supporters of this bill say that it is to protect children, but from what? The drag being done in public places is normally meant for children, such as book readings or sing-alongs. One of the bill’s sponsors wrote, “The bill gives confidence to parents that they can take their kids to a public or private show and will not be blindsided by a sexualized performance.” To restate my earlier point, no, not all drag is for kids. But the places that have drag for more adult audiences are held in places that kids can’t get into. No drag queen is going to hold an 18+ show in a library, or at a park, it simply
doesn’t happen. Another point supporters of this bill bring up is that drag shows indoctrinate and manipulate their child audiences. When children go to a drag show, they do not care what gender the person is, or even see an issue with drag. All they see is a person in a wig and colorful outfits dancing around to music and reading to them. By this logic, we have to ban “Mrs. Doubtfire” from all minors too, because it will manipulate and change our children. Because drag is usually done in a queer setting, this creates another layer as to why people want to restrict it to children.

There are also so many more things our legislation can be doing to protect children than ban drag shows.
Like making guns less accessible so that school shootings can stop. If you really want to protect children, there is something you can do. Spending time in office putting restrictions on drag shows is simply idiotic when you think about the other things you could be doing. Especially when you talk about “protecting children.” No child has ever been subject to gun violence at a drag show, yet there have been over 130 mass shootings in the United States this year alone.

Drag was an integral part of my childhood, and I will forever be grateful for it. Watching it helped me gain confidence, and see the diverse world around me. It brought me and my family so much entertainment over the years and has taught me so much about queer history and culture. To quote Rupaul, “You’re born naked, the rest is drag.”