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Drag queens reading to children?



Photo credit: dragqueenstoryhour.org

What is it about the conservative mind that totally flips out at the idea of drag queens? Even most of us liberals, I imagine, raised our eyebrows in surprise upon first hearing about Drag Queen Story Hour. It’s edgy for sure. But, upon reflection, liberals realize that children love costumes, and that every single one of us wears a costume every single day, because, if we don’t, we’ll get arrested. And liberals like the idea of children learning that it’s the person inside the costume that really matters, and that we all get our own free choices in how we present ourselves to the world. On the other hand, where conservatives are concerned, Drag Queen Story Hour has been gasoline on the fires of the culture war.

The New Yorker has a new article with the title “David French, Sohrab Ahmari, and the Battle for the Future of Conservatism.” For those of us who try to make sense of the addled authoritarian mind, this article is a must-read. Sohrab Ahmari, who was born in Iran and who converted to Catholicism in 2016, calls Drag Queen Story Hour “a five-alarm cultural fire.” He argues that such a thing is so dangerous that conservatives should set aside the First Amendment and use whatever coercion is necessary to stop drag queens from reading to children. This must be done, he believes, to defend “traditional morality.”

As you might imagine with someone who lived in San Francisco for many years, it has been my honor to have met many drag queens and transexuals. People who have been misunderstood and mistreated all their lives, if they survive with their wholeness and goodness intact, are very likely to have spent a great deal of time thinking things through and drawing some conclusions about what really matters. I have learned a great deal from them about what it means to be human. I remember reading some years ago (though I have not been able to find a reference) that studies have shown that religionless gay people generally score higher on tests for moral maturity than do priests. That does not surprise me, because, to authoritarians, thinking things through is dangerous. One’s beliefs about morality are to be received from moral authorities and are not to be questioned. But, freed from tradition and authority, one might find one’s way much more quickly to the leading edge of moral progress. During the 1980s, for example, while most of America was in a state of moral panic and moral paralysis on the matter of AIDS, it was the drag queens who stood with microphones under the lights of America’s gay bars to educate the at-risk population about what was going on and how to stay safe. No doubt they saved countless lives.

As a heretic and beneficiary of the First Amendment (which people like Ahmari would set aside), I think it is important not only to speak up for those who are different and whose differences are good and benign, but also to heap ridicule on the foolishness and hypocrisies of authoritarians. For example, Google for “Jerry Falwell Jr. and pool boy.” That’s a story worth following. Don’t miss the stories about that West Virginia bishop and his depravity: “A penthouse, limousines and private jets: Inside the globe-trotting life of Bishop Michael Bransfield.” While searching for photos for this post, I had a lot of good laughs at the photos of churchmen in their robes and finery, which I would call drag. I’ve included an example below, as well as the famous video of a priest slapping an infant during a christening.

I feel mean, and a bit guilty, when I write snarky posts like this one. But I do believe that public ridicule and public expressions of contempt are our best defense against the moral defectives who tell would people how to live. “Traditional morality” is a harder and harder sell. Why can they not see why?


Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, now disgraced. Would you trust your children to someone in this kind of costume?

Or this one?

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