- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The New York Times just published a story that was headlined, “Sashaying Their Way Through Youth” and billed for readers to “[m]eet the rising drag stars of America. They’re tweens.”

Tweens? Twelve-year-olds?

On a Richter Scale of Horrors, with one being a slight gasp and 10 a blood-curdling scream, this piece — this all-hail-the-glory-of-kiddie-drag-queens piece — hits at an 11.

When did sexualizing pre-pubescents become accepted American practice?

The story opens with the excited exclamations of 12-year-old Desmond Napoles, also known as “Desmond is Amazing” in the drag world, after he gets the go-ahead to attend DragCon, a New York City convention hosted by famed drag artist RuPaul. His mother, Wendy Napoles, speaks of how “theatrical” her son has always been. And The Times helpfully includes a quick backgrounder of Demond’s drag experiences, beneath of photo of him dressed as a girl, with a long, flowing pink-and-yellow-skirt, captioned “at a fitting for DragCon.”

Remember: this kid is 12.

On a different online site, this photograph, this descriptor, would be cause to call the cops.

The newspaper then reports on “Keegan, a.k.a. Kween Keekee … a 9-year-old drag queen.”

Nine — aka a fourth- or fifth-grader.

“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,” The New York Times reports. “But as gay culture has gained mainstream acceptance, the number and variety of locations where drag is welcome have grown. 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.”

This is insanity.

This is normalizing the sexualization of children under the cloak of LGBTQ rights. This is child abuse masked as freedom and free choice.

These are little kids.

They are not props for the mentally deranged fantasies of adults.

They’ve not even passed puberty — and yet we’re expected to accept and believe they’ve decided on their own volition, absent any influence at all, to drape themselves in flamboyant costumes that are blatantly sex-based, and parade and prance for the admiration and cheers of grown men and women? Of grown men and women who believe males and females are simply states of mind, as interchangeable as shoes?

Shame on The New York Times for exploring and presenting a dark and seedy world in such glowing, fawning, accepting light.

But an even bigger shame on a country that allows this exploitation and abuse of its youngest and most vulnerable to occur, unchallenged.

Nine-year-old children are not drag queens. They’re not drag kings, either. They’re kids. They’re little elementary school kids who ought to be playing with the family dog and riding their bikes and learning to cut along the lines and write book reports — not dancing in drag for the amusement and creepy lusts of dysfunctional adults. No matter how many media outlets try to sell otherwise.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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