Can the gaslighting on gender and sexual identitarianism from the left get any more absurd? The Washington Post last month ran a story about how a decision by the community center in McLean, Virginia to co-sponsor a “Drag StoryBook Hour” for children during Pride Month has, in their awkward wording, “set off culture wars.”
The May election for three open seats at the community center has attracted nine candidates, including Katharine Gorka, a former Trump administration official who has criticized the diversity, inclusion, and equity policies that resulted in the drag event. WaPo reporter Antonio Olivo observed, with editorial flourish, that this is “an example of how nothing is safe from the nation’s raging culture wars.”
A suburban community center hosts a drag queen story hour (DQSH) for elementary school students, yet it’s conservatives who are the ones stoking the culture war by complaining about it? A Florida school board member last year chaperoned a group of elementary school children on a field trip to a gay bar and the state’s community centers promote DQSH, but it’s conservatives who are the dangerous extremists for supporting a Florida parental rights in education bill?
Drag queens do bizarre, borderline pornographic acts in front of children, but it’s conservatives who are responsible for miseducating and damaging American youth? Come on.
Anything but Innocent
DQSH, as Gorka recently told me, “is not, as the American Library Association dishonestly describes it, an effort to combat ‘marginalization and underrepresentation.’” Rather, as the DQSH website itself declares, it is “drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores” in order to “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”
That word “play” is a bit concerning, especially given the sexually explicit nature of DQSH, and the many allegations that this pedagogy equates to grooming. A drag performer at one DQSH event in D.C. last year sang shirtless with duct tape on her breasts, sported a thong, and pretended to have fake sperm over her mouth.
Another DQSH event in Portland, Oregon in 2019 showed photos of children “lounging atop of the costumed queens on the floor, grabbing at false breasts, and burying their faces in their bodies.” This is not exactly light-hearted, appropriate public entertainment, notes Gorka.
A Concerning National Phenomenon
It would be more accurate to say that DQSH events bring the culture war directly to America’s children, with an ideological gameplan expressly dedicated to sexualizing our nation’s youth and urging children to consider themselves gender dysphoric. The first DQSH event in the United States was held in San Francisco in 2015. Since then, the events have spread across the country.
As of 2020, the official DQSH website boasted almost 50 independently operated chapters across the United States, including in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. It is also supported by the American Library Association, whose extensive resource page includes information on how libraries can resist and censure people in local communities who object to these events.
Terrifyingly, the grooming charge is reality. In 2021, the former president of an organization that served as a sponsor for the Milwaukee Drag Queen Story Hour was charged with possessing child pornography depicting the sexual abuse of underage boys, including toddlers. In 2019, the Houston Public Library admitted a registered child sex offender to read to kids in a DQSH event. Allyn Walker, a transgender former assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Virginia, sought to defend people who are attracted to minors.
As I noted in a recent Federalist article, the media and schools aggressively promoting transgenderism have created a national crisis. There has been a dramatic, unprecedented surge in people identifying with sexual identities other than heterosexual.
As Abigail Shrier documents at length in her alarming book “Irreversible Damage,” the consequences for those who seek hormone treatment and/or sexual reassignment surgery are lifelong. DQSH marks an attempt to push the boundaries even further, not only for children entering puberty but to early elementary school and pre-K.
This truly is a national challenge. DQSH now reportedly has chapters in 29 different states, which means there is plenty of local political work to be done. As Gorka notes, “pornographic books such as ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ can be found in hundreds of school libraries across the country, thanks in part to the fact that The Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) put the book at the top of its Teens’ Top 10 book list in 2021.”
This makes the left’s abusive and hyperbolic rhetoric on conservative resistance to DQSH and other grooming activities all the more insulting and infuriating. The Washington Post provocatively featured a political cartoon in April portraying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as responsible for the deaths of trans children. Liberal media outlets are claiming that conservatives should be held responsible for the suicides of children struggling with dysphoria.
Yet who encouraged prepubescent children to think about myopic topics like gender dysphoria in the first place? I certainly never heard of such things when I was in grade school in the 1990s. Who told children that their gender and sexual identity were the most important thing about them, and that misidentifying or misgendering amounted to the worst possible offense? Who is making millions of dollars off lying to and emotionally damaging impressionable, easily-manipulated children?
The answer is those advocating DQSH and the many other ubiquitous forms of sexual and gender propaganda influencing millions of American youth. It is they who are deceiving — and often permanently damaging — an entire generation of Americans for the sake of their own ideological agenda, the normalizing of bizarre, pornographic behavior.
No, conservatives did not inflame the culture war over trans ideology and drag queens. But we sure would like to stop it.