Dragging Kids to Pride is Dragging Us Down

By Valdamar Archuleta

I’m writing this as an openly gay man who can no longer stay silent. In the past few years, there has been a growing trend of exposing young children to drag culture with the goal of creating a safe, more inclusive, and accepting future generation. However, the recent images radiating across social media clearly show that the movement has failed.

I have nothing against drag. It can be fabulous and captivating when responsibly done in the appropriate environment for a mature audience. I have personally known talented drag artists who are kind, loving, and wonderful people. I’ll be honest, I may have taken to the stage in drag myself once or twice (or three times). And it was a blast! Nevertheless, I understood drag to be for an adult audience.

When I first heard drag queens were going to begin interacting and even performing for children I was skeptical. I thought maybe there could be a way for these creative entertainers to make it work. Maybe if the performers took on costumes and personas of characters in children’s books or women from history and regaled the children with their stories it could have worked. But that’s not what happened.

A gay bar in the Dallas area put on a drag show for children called “Drag Your Kids To Pride”. Viral videos from this event soon began circulating on social media. Images of drag queens in provocative costumes dancing with the classic sultry attitude in front of a large glowing neon sign that read “It’s Not Gonna Lick Itself” filled our screens. Then we watched uncomfortable confused children line up to tip the performers’ one-dollar bills. The videos were shocking, to say the least. Honestly, my initial reaction was that this was a joke.

If this were an isolated event I wouldn’t bring the entire drag kid movement into question. But it’s not. For example, the Twitter account ‘LibsOfTiktok’ has multiple posts including detailed threads of similar events taking place all over the country. The evidence isn’t hard to find.

I want to believe these are rare and isolated events but the avalanche of media showing similar incidents gives a different report. And most damning of all… No one is denying it.

valdamar archuleta

This movement hasn’t just gone from story time to live performances. It’s moved on to celebrating children as drag performers. In line with my initial comments, if done in a responsible age-appropriate manner maybe it could have worked. But of course, that’s not what happened. Instead, we see small boys seductively parading around a stage in a crowded nightclub full of adults hooting and hollering and even giving the child dollar bills. We now have infamous photos of drag kids in dressing rooms standing next to nude men posing ‘playfully’. And don’t forget the video of a child drag queen pretending to snort a line of cocaine while hobnobbing with his crew of queens. I would definitely question the values of anyone who doesn’t see this as a problem.

The LGBT activists’ newfound obsession with children goes beyond drag. Videos are circulating of children at various other Pride events. For example, a little boy wearing what could only be described as ‘booty shorts’ twerking on the street at a Pride Festival while surrounded by cheering men. In another we see a young girl standing outside a gay establishment at Pride watching a male go-go dancer on the patio dancing in his underwear. Then you have the activists in Florida and across the country freaking out because they can’t teach kindergartners about sex and gender. All the while the Gay Men’s Chorus in San Francisco is singing a song they wrote, “We’re Coming For Your Children”.

I want to believe these are rare and isolated events but the avalanche of media showing similar incidents gives a different report. And most damning of all… No one is denying it.

Looking at the big picture you can clearly see a growing trend of including children in adult LGBT activities and conversations. The outrageous, yet honest, drag queen Hogatha Cysty asked “what in the hell has a drag queen ever done to make you have so much respect for them and admire them so much other than put on makeup and jump on the floor and writhe around and do sexual things on stage? I have no idea why you would want that to influence your child”.

She has a point. Why do we feel drag queens are good role models for children? Why do we feel their influence represents diversity and inclusion? Drag queens are essentially just men dressed up as women typically portraying extravagant flirtatious female characters. What is it we want our children to learn from them? That this is how gay men act? Or that this is how women act?

To my fellow LGBT individuals and establishments, I want to say we need to do better. We need to hold members of our community accountable for their actions. We need to remember the values and standards we fought for. For decades gay men fought against the stigma of pedophilia. We distanced ourselves from anyone who did anything remotely inappropriate around a child and condemned their actions. We wanted the world to know that kind of behavior did not represent who we were. Today’s activists will cost us all the ground we gained.

After the images from the Dallas “Drag Your Kids To Pride” event gained widespread circulation our newspapers and media should have been flooded with statements from our LGBT leaders condemning the actions of those involved. But that didn’t happen. Because too many of us are cowards. Cowards who are afraid of not being fashionably hip with the latest trends in activism. We have too many cowards who are more concerned with looking like good people than actually being good people. Get over the fear and peer pressure and stand up for children!

If you are someone who still believes the drag for kids movement can be done in a responsible and appropriate way then you should be the first one to speak up and condemn it when it’s gone too far. But you haven’t and let’s admit it it’s gone too far. It’s better to err on the side of caution and protect the innocence of children. This experiment is over. 

To the parents of young children, I’d like to remind you that your priority is to protect and care for your children.

I’m going to share some thoughts I heard from a wise woman named Becca, a person of transgender experience, who I follow on social media under the handle ‘BoldlyGrowing4Ward’. Diversity and inclusion are great, but not at the expense of making a child grow up too fast. Children deserve to organically fall into their own life. In their own time, unrushed. They are not adults, nor are they future adults. They are children. The innocence they are born with is something they deserve to live in as long as humanly possible before the world takes it away from them. Please, allow them to be children.

I know you want to ensure your children grow up to be the best humans possible. And you want them to love and accept everyone and embrace diversity. Well, lucky for you they probably already feel that way. That’s their default setting until we teach them to think otherwise. 

Parents, you need to have the courage to put doing what’s best for your children ahead of keeping up appearances with the latest modern parenting trends. 

Finally, to the individuals out there who are outraged by these drag events, I feel your irritation, but please don’t protest in a way that makes you come across as the bad guy. If you walk up to a group of parents with their small children and yell into a bull horn “why do you want to put an ax wound between your child’s legs” or “they want to rape your kids” you’re an asshole. You’re the one who comes across as the villain in this situation and are the one the kids will remember as a monster. Do not protest in front of the children!

If you’re going to publicly protest find a time and place where children aren’t around. Or, even better, fight the culture with culture. Create your own event for children. Give families an alternative and make it the place children want to be.

And another thing… stop blaming everyone in the LGBT community for the actions of a few. I’m sure most Christians wouldn’t want to be placed in the same box as the Westboro Baptists Church protesting at our soldiers’ funerals. Well, we feel the same way.

Many LGBT individuals feel the same way you do. There are LGBT organizations, leaders, and politicians who are speaking out with you and are your best asset to being heard. So support them, don’t berate them.

We make everything political. We tie everything to social causes. We place everything in tribal boxes. That’s the world we, as adults, live in. It’s the world we created. But it should not be a world we bring our kids into. Our children grow up too fast as it is. And today’s environment is already speeding up the pace without purposely exposing our children to adult themes.

Bringing drag queens into children’s lives may have started out with good intentions but it’s taken a turn and has gone down a dangerous path. It’s time to step back and work at resolving these adult conversations without getting the children involved. 

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About the Author:

Valdamar Archuleta is a Colorado Native and the President of the Log Cabin Republicans of Colorado.