Follow The Children: Fight The Republican Attempts To Ban Drag And Bully Transgender Kids

Mar 1, 2023 at 12:34 pm
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community and their friends, family and supporters walked and lined Main Street from Floyd Street to the Belvedere for the Kentuckiana Pride Parade, Saturday, June 16, 2017 in Louisville, Ky.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community and their friends, family and supporters walked and lined Main Street from Floyd Street to the Belvedere for the Kentuckiana Pride Parade, Saturday, June 16, 2017 in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by Brian Bohannon)

I can’t believe that we still have to write the same stories and relive the same ignorant history that follows people of color and those in the LGBT+ community. I’ve been following the news as red state legislators double down on bullying instead of working to help Americans eat and provide for their families. Instead of building pathways for people, these wacky motherfuckers are in full slash-and-burn mode on Americans who are not white, religious, or heteronormative, all the while, throwing stones and living in giant glass houses.

I’m convinced, even more, after reading a recent article about Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, that the entire GOP is a collection of cracked lunatics who hide under cloaks of righteousness to do the work of the demons they want to cast out of everyone else. Lee, who, himself, donned women’s clothing while in high school is agreeing to sign a partial ban on drag passed by Tennessee legislators. The Tennessee Holler called out his hypocrisy on Twitter. 

The proposed Tennessee law is like many versions of the Republican agenda across this country where Republican majority states want to ban drag in public, in front of children, and within so many feet of a school or church. KY’s own SB 115 would label venues that host drag shows, story hours, or brunches as adult-oriented businesses. Further, it equates drag with stripping and nude performances. As the bill mandates adult-oriented businesses be located at least 1,000 feet from the nearest residence, school, walking trail, and a number of other places, it would essentially end drag as it exists today in Louisville.

Nevertheless, Republicans haven’t stopped attacking things that adults do and innocent drag performances that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. If drag is sexual, then perhaps it would do Republicans well to read the works of William Shakespeare. In particular, if they spent a little time reading “Merchant of Venice,” they might understand that the use of drag was, in this story, and has been throughout history a practice that gave voice and agency to those who had none.

Drag being sexual in the function of a story hour or a brunch is ridiculous — as ridiculous as Republicans and these bills are dangerous. It isn’t drag queens or adult performers grooming children. 

Let’s jump to the next bill for clarity. 

In KY’s Senate Bill 150, Republicans are on the bandwagon of attacking transgender people, in this instance particularly vulnerable youth. The hateful legislation seeks to allow educators to refuse to address students according to the pronouns of a student’s wishes and would also allow parents to preview course materials relating to human sexuality which opens the door for obscenity claims and other religious and moralistic artifacts leaking into the educational environment. The goal here is to equate biological sex to gender when all current study and research has clearly made distinctions between the two. So any use of pronouns or educational materials that contradict this woul be vulnerable to further attack. 

 Another bill, HB 470 which would restrict transyouth medical care. Both bills would force the adults in the lives of these children to become unsafe spaces for their needs. 

Are the people who sponsored these bills doctors? Not one. The only medical professionals include a registered nurse, an audiologist and a speech pathologist. None qualified to make finite decisions about the physical or mental health of those who would be affected by these bills. 

In fact, Oldham County Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, one of the signatories and the prime sponsor of the anti-drag bill SB 115, lists herself simply as a realtor and christian, nothing more, nothing less than a piece of paper saying she took some courses in real estate and an affiliation with religious dogma.

This entire group is a mishmash of generic religious affiliations (every one of them lists their faith) and unrelated experiences that give them absolutely no authority nor credibility to give, legislate or have any say in medical decisions between doctors and their patients, parents and their children, educators and their students, nor the skill and knowledge to create legislation that will absolutely result in the death of more queer children. Furthermore, the absolute gall of this group of "godly" folks to sign onto such a bill when the statistics of their churches’ horrific sexual abuse crimes is so well-documented and public.

Study after study has linked high religiosity to instances of child sexual abuse. In short, it is the people who support bills like this who also give their time and faith to organizations with opportunity and documented track records of grooming children for abuse. Like I said, it isn’t drag queens. Yet, these individuals decided to co-sign this vile and dangerous bill even after one of their colleagues lost a child to suicide for the very reasons this bill should be dead on arrival. It's gross and just another piece of evidence that Republicans only care about their own freedom, yours doesn't mean shit. 

So what should Kentuckians do? Follow the children. 

Each week, students from area schools are walking out of their classrooms to protest against these bills and in support of their friends and their own lives. As I’m writing this, a group of sixth graders at Noe Middle School are finishing their protest.

They know what the adults around them seem to ignore — that letting these bills go unchecked, without a battle is unacceptable. If 11-year-old kids are fighting for their rights, we should be right behind them and it is time the fight got its hands dirty. We’ve been too quiet and too kind to this right-winged, religious subterfuge for too long. We can't continue to meet these people half way, be accommodating or even civil. It's time to end the GOP for good.