“Pride” events started a few decades ago as an activist effort to push back against the stigma attached to homosexuality. Now extended across the whole month of June, it looks more like an effort designed to do the opposite.
Last weekend, social media abounded with videos of a Pride event at a gay bar in Dallas called Drag the Kids to Pride. Young children can be seen handing money to twerking drag queens. A bright pink neon sign saying “It’s Not Going to Lick Itself!” added an extra layer of creepiness.
This week, the Twitter account Libs of Tiktok alerted followers to a drag show at a San Francisco middle school. In one video, a crowd of students cheers wildly as the performer—Twitter handle @NickiJizz—pulls off his wig in the finale.
Visceral outrage at sexualizing young kids is the right response—and there’s plenty of outrage online.
But as radio host and writer Michael Brown has pointed out, the spectacle of drag queens performing for kids (and their parents) has been common at Pride parades for almost two decades. There was little public outcry beyond conservative circles.
This year, however, the pushback seems stronger and more diverse than in previous years. What accounts for that?
For one thing, the sexualization of young kids seems to have moved from the fringe to the mainstream. It’s not just in random gay bars and schools in San Francisco. It now seems to be official policy.
For instance, as The Daily Signal reports, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has gotten in on the action. As part of its Pride Family Day, the taxpayer-supported museum sponsored “what it called an ‘age appropriate’ drag queen show and crafts inspired by the LGBTQ Pride flag for children ages 3 and up.”
You can find “age-appropriate drag queen” listed in the dictionary of oxymorons not far from “female penis.”
Second, Pride now seems less about gay and lesbian inclusion and more about abolishing the difference between males and females, and between adults and children.
You can detect this shift even in presidential announcements.
In 1998 and 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June to be “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.” President Barack Obama did the same every year he was in office, but with a twist. He added the “T” to the “LGB.”
“LGBT” now rolls smoothly off the tongue. But it denotes a strange coalition. “L” refers to females who are attracted to females. “G” refers to males attracted to males. “B” stands for bisexual—which implies that there are two sexes. “T,” in contrast, refers to those who seek to replace the binary of male and female with a subjective and fluid spectrum of “gender identity” independent of the body.
Not to be outdone, President Joe Biden already has extended the celebration to infinity and beyond with “LGBTQ+ Pride Month.” “Q+” apparently includes gender identity lessons and sexed-up drag queen burlesque shows for 5-year-olds.
Somewhere between the “B” and the plus sign, Pride Month jumped the shark.
This targeting of children gives the sea of rainbows a much more sinister hue. The pride-signaling on corporate logos, map and exercise apps, public school hallways, TV networks and streaming services, Google doodles, even on Major League Baseball fields and jerseys, feels ever more oppressive.
This rainbow-fest has irked social conservatives for years. And some feminists have objected to drag queens, which are little more than men dressing up as sexualized parodies of women. But now, even some who identify as gay and lesbian have had enough.
On Twitter, Storm Robinson observed: “As a gay man, I can’t understand why a parent would take their child to a drag queen story hour. Why does this even exist? … Drag is not for kids. The end.”
And consider British philosopher Kathleen Stock, author of the terrific book “Material Girls,” who was marching in Pride parades just a few years ago. She now has harsh words about the whole business:
This annual festival of naked men and naked political manoeuvring is incredibly dispiriting to any lesbian or gay man who doesn’t believe in the underpinning values—if you can call them values at all. Some of my friends have become positively averse to the sight of the rainbow flag, and shudder whenever they see one. In Brighton, given the ubiquity of rainbows—from buses to shopfronts to lighting displays and beyond—this means you shudder on average about four times an hour. And not in a good way. Rather than feeling proud as robotically instructed, many feel ashamed of what’s being done in their name.
But the most quotable takedowns have come from Candice Jackson on Twitter. In one representative tweet, she says that “‘LGBTQ Pride’ is a spiritual cult that’s anti-reality, anti-civil liberties, targeting children for fantasy-based rites of body sacrifice to liberate ‘gender souls’ & ‘queer’ sexualization.”
It’s hard to improve on that.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal