Should States Ban Drag Shows for Kids?

(Scott Threlkeld/The Advocate via AP)

The debate over the sexualization of children has been raging for years now. It began when parents discovered school districts were presenting far-leftist ideas on sexuality and gender identity in K-12 classrooms. Now, the conversation is centered on children attending shows featuring drag queens dancing suggestively in sexualized outfits.


Several videos have gone viral on social media with footage of these shows, some of which show small children giving performers money in much the same way a patron at a strip club would give an exotic dancer. The emergence of these videos has prompted nationwide outrage and some states have signaled that they intend to ban these events. But is this the right answer?

The most prominent story involving drag queens performing for small children occurred at a club in Dallas, Texas. The footage shows male dancers dressed in drag strutting on the runway and dancing provocatively in front of a flashing neon sign that read “it’s not gonna lick itself.”

Recently, Libs of TikTok posted a video showing a parent at a Houston Independent School District board meeting accusing one of his son’s teachers of taking him to a drag show without the father’s permission. He said his chemistry teacher, who also writes for an LGBTQ magazine, “recruited” his underaged son and took him to the show in which one of the performers was a convicted sex offender — convicted of sexual assault on an 8-year-old boy. The video also shows a video that was secretly recorded by the child.


Lawmakers in Texas and Florida are calling for bans against minor children attending drag shows. But some have taken issue with this suggestion, claiming parents should have the right to decide where to take their children. Indeed, the kids at the drag show in Dallas were brought to the event by their parents.

During an interview with the Sun-Sentinel, Tatiana Williams, executive director of TransInclusive Group, took issue with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis supporting the idea of a ban. “Drag is here, and it has always been here as a part of our community,” she said.

She continued:

“Banning drag shows out of a misguided fear that some youth might find a sense of connection with the LGBTQ+ community would be an invasion of parents’ rights to raise their children and support them as their authentic selves. When we think of educating our youth about the world, about acceptance, and about LGBTQ+ people and history, these efforts to erase our visibility are never the answer.”

On the other side, people supporting such a ban point out that states already have laws prohibiting parents or other adults from bringing children to other establishments like strip clubs, bars, etc. When I asked for opinions on Twitter, RedState’s Kira Davis made a poignant argument:


Why not? Kids can’t sit at a bar and we’ve somehow avoided Armageddon. You can’t take a kid to a strip club. You can’t take a kid to smoke shop. The “I’m more reasonable than you OTHER conservatives” crowd needs to calm down.

Others have also pointed out the risks associated with using the state to prohibit parents from taking their children to drag shows. Conservative commentator Bethany Mandel, who is also an advocate for homeschooling, brought up this potential issue:

Things I have been accused of child abuse over by the Left:  -Saying I don’t make my kids wear masks or socially distance, and that it’s okay with me for them to get COVID.  -Reading them the Rush Limbaugh @HeroesOfLiberty book.  -Homeschooling  -Raising them religious


Mandel continued in a subsequent tweet, recounting how she “had CPS threatened over” her supposed “abuse” and said she is “extremely not okay with the power of the state being used against parents/kids/families.”

While I lean towards supporting a ban, Mandel’s argument strikes me as the most compelling and the best reason to be apprehensive about such a move. In countries like Canada, the state can punish people for not adhering to the tenets of wokeism when it comes to raising their children. Indeed, at least one Canadian parent has been jailed for speaking out against transgender ideology when his daughter decided to socially transition to a male.

There are plenty in the United States who would love to see this type of statism occur in this country. Just look at how these folks are pushing leftist ideology in school districts without the involvement of the parents. Passing laws around where parents can take their children could just give them the precedent they need to make it easier to make this dream a reality.

Still, Davis’ point is still apt – we already have laws prohibiting minors from going to certain events and venues. Adding one more will not likely help keep the far-left from doing what they already intend to do: Use the state to mandate that parents adhere to so-called progressive ideology on gender identity and other matters when raising their children.


Of course, I would not support federal legislation banning drag shows for children. This, like most other matters, should be handled at the state level. If people want their kids to attend drag shows, they can live in a state that allows it and vice versa. At the end of the day, the people should be the ones to decide.


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