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Others say: The drag queen debate

by Chicago Tribune | February 2, 2023 at 3:14 a.m.

Drag queens have become the latest flashpoint in ongoing culture wars with a new wave of legislative proposals designed to limit the freedom of these performers to do what they long have done.

The art form of a man dressing up in women's clothes or engaging in female impersonation dates back at least to ancient Greece. It is impossible to produce a good chunk of the plays of William Shakespeare without an awareness of that practice. As anyone who has seen "South Pacific" knows, drag shows were common ways to entertain U.S. troops abroad.

And anyone who argues, as we have been reading of late, that drag shows are inherently obscene or sexualized is ignorant of their long and distinguished history.

The nub of the current issue involves drag shows for children. This is where things get more complicated.

Seeing a man perform while dressed as a woman is no threat to your average kid, and can increase tolerance, empowerment and critical thinking.

But here is where we depart from some progressive views on this issue: Those queens who are performing for kids should maintain age-appropriate performances.

Most queens of experience and with compassion for the very young are fully aware of this. They know that tiny kids should not be pawns or proxies for adult arguments over gender and sexuality.

Print Headline: The drag queen debate


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