- Republican members of Congress introduced legislation this week to “Stop the Sexualization of Children.”
- The bill targets drag queen story hours for children as “sexually-oriented events.”
- “We refuse to give in,” said the executive director of Drag Story Hours program.
Nearly three dozen Republican members of Congress introduced legislation this week to “Stop the Sexualization of Children,” targeting drag queen story hours for children as “sexually-oriented events.”
The measure is part of the culture war battles Republicans have been waging across the country against drag queen events, controversial books and discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity in schools as a threat to children.
Jonathan Hamilt, executive director of Drag Story Hour, said such legislation is “just part of a nationwide program attacking LGBT people” and attempts to criminalize their work is rooted in “tired homophobia and transphobia and hate and misinformation.”
“We refuse to give in to politicians who are too bigoted and boring to comprehend our vision for a world in which every child should should be safe, fully expressing who they are,” he said.
On the day the bill dropped, news broke that a GOP Trump-loving candidate had been busted earlier this month in Arizona for allegedly masturbating near a preschool. “But tell us more about how drag queens reading books are the threat that children need to be protected from,” one Democrat tweeted.
—LA Blue Dot in GA 🌊💔 (@namwella1961) October 20, 2022
Hamilt suggested that the now-former candidate, Randy Gene Kaufman, could learn from the lessons his nonprofit organization teaches children.
“As with many of the books that we read to kids, we make perfectly clear words and actions have consequences, so maybe if he came to a story hour he would know that,” said Hamilt, whose stage name is “Ona Louise.”
Kaufman suspended his campaign on Tuesday for Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board after being arrested for public sexual indecency on October 4. The Republican Party of Arizona supported his decision. HuffPost said that in a may Facebook post, which is now disabled, he wrote that he wanted “our children protected [from] the progressive left.”
In Washington, House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Mike Johnson of Louisiana is leading the charge on legislation to ban the use of federal tax dollars to “expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”
“The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology,” Johnson said in a statement.
The bill would allow parents to file a lawsuit against any public or private entity using federal dollars to expose young children to “sexually explicit materials or programs.”
Johnson’s news release links to a story about federal funds being used to pay for a drag story hour event in Alaska.
Hamilt said drag storytellers in his nationwide program have background checks and are trained to read books on gay pride and diverse families.
Drag “burlesque” or “adult” shows were never open to children, taking place in bars and clubs where only adults can enter, he said. He said he can’t speak for every drag artist, but his program uses drag as a tool for children’s literacy.
“Drag Story Hour cannot be more disappointed in disingenuous politicians that are trying to score points by attacking programs like ours,” he said.
The bills further encourage homophobia, hatred and discrimination “disgused under the false claim of caring for children’s safety,” he said.
“We remain committed to creating safe opportunities for kids to learn about the diversity of the world around them and express their most fabulous self.”