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The New York Times on Saturday published a glowingly positive article on child drag queens.
Many people have insisted that allowing children to perform as drag queens and in similar fashions is detrimental to their development and an outright promotion of child abuse.
Titled, “Sashaying Their Way Through Youth,” the outlet’s Alice Hines wrote that the young children are the newest “rising drag stars of America.”
The feature showcased Desmond Napoles, a 12-year-old “drag kid” who has performed countless shows and has the support of his parents. Napoles has previously insisted that he is gay.
Hines wrote, “Desmond and his mother would still make it to the object of Desmond’s excitement: DragCon, the convention hosted by RuPaul in New York City in early September. It would be Desmond’s third year in a row. He isn’t a different person in drag so much as a more outgoing version of himself, he said. ‘I’m always fierce, fabulous and not playing video games,’ he said. ‘I’m being AH-MA-zing.'”
Desmond’s mother, Wendy Napoles, adds that she sees herself as a typical mother.
“Other moms are a soccer moms,” she told the outlet. “They take their kids to practice, to games, they cheer for their kids. That’s how I see myself with drag.”
Wendy most recently complained that a convicted pedophile made “highly inappropriate” remarks about her son. Wendy and her husband Andy have permitted their son to perform in drag shows and also to be featured in magazines and on websites to promote his style as well as his hobby.
Desmond appeared on NBC’s “Today” in 2018 and revealed that he began watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race” when he was just 3 years old. Watching the show, he said, changed his life.
“Drag is for anyone, no matter what sex, age, gender, identity, ability, or race,” Desmond’s mother told Pink News in 2018.
Desmond’s “innocent” hobby isn’t without its ramifications, however: He told the outlet that he has cut back on his performing because large crowds and people grasping at him for a hug have made him anxious in recent times.
The feature also spotlighted a 9-year-old male drag queen named Keegan — otherwise known as Kween Keekee.
Keegan’s mother, Megan, insisted that she and her family do not aim to encourage fame in their child.
“Our goal has never been to make K famous,” Megan told the outlet. “We allow Instagram to be a public account as we don’t feel we need to be pressured to hide our child, and because we think his story could help other kids.”
Megan said that she took to Instagram in order to set Keegan up with male adult drag queens to serve as peers and mentors.
Hines wrote, “As recently as the 1970s, when dressing as another gender could lead to arrest on charges of vagrancy or ‘perversion’ in many jurisdictions, drag was an adults-only affair, relegated to underground spaces and rich in sexual innuendo.”
“But as gay culture has gained mainstream acceptance, the number and variety of locations where drag is welcome have grown,” Hines added. “G-rated story hours are now offered at public libraries. Kids — and parents intent on raising them outside of traditional gender norms — are keen to perform.”