Civil Liberties, Columnists, Free Speech, Jon Caldara

Caldara: Drama over drag queens plays into their manicured hands

Men dressed up as women are a comedy staple. Pie in the face, rubber chicken, Moe poking Curly in the eye, spit-take, knee to the crotch, and … guys in dresses, you know, the basics.

Flip Wilson as Geraldine

Milton Berle had his Auntie Mildred character. Flip Wilson appeared as Geraldine. The men of Monty Python referred to their middle-aged, matronly alter-egos as “the pepperpots.” Klinger on M*A*S*H wanted out of the army on a “Section 8.” Dana Carvey was the Church Lady while Adam Sandler and Chris Farley dressed as high school girls on Saturday Night Live. Tootsie. Mrs. Doubtfire. Bugs Bunny. This list could go on forever.

Dressing in drag has always been a great attention grabber. Howard Stern dressed in drag to promote his book. Rudy Giuliani, while mayor of New York, dressed like Marilyn Monroe for a charity event. The Hasty Pudding Club in Harvard honors celebrities with an all-male Rockettes-style kick-line and have been doing shows in drag since the 1800’s.

I’d like to make a prediction. Since people enjoy it, it will of course have to end. I bet that within ten years this type of comedy and absurdity — guys mockingly dressed like women — will be stamped out of existence. We will be taught by the enforcers of tolerance that laughing at people who are obviously men in dresses is an affront to transgender people.

Dudes dressing as chicks for giggles will be seen as a hate crime against dudes dressing like chicks. It will become the new blackface. John Cleese could be remembered like Al Jolson.

If this prediction comes true it will be an even bigger loss given that gay men flamboyantly dressed as woman preforming as drag queens in cabaret shows played a historic role in the gay movement.

Drag queens have moved their performances from late night shows for adults at bars to midday shows at libraries for little kids. The public library in Windsor Colorado was the latest stop for “Drag Queen Story Hour” where guys in dresses read to children ages 2 through 8 to indoctrinate them about gender expression. Yeah. This is a real thing. The goal was to cause a scene and push their transgender-social envelope. Google “Overton Window.”

The event was packed inside with parents who want even more programming for their snowflakes’ squishy heads. Protesters and media were outside, exactly what the drag queens wanted.

If you want your kids lectured to about gender expression, go big. Send them to public school. My daughter’s school test for the sex education lesson had more questions about matching the right word to someone’s strain of gender dysphoria than it had questions about baby-making.

We know why the supporters were there. So, let me speak to the protesters.

If you don’t want your kids preached to by drag queens, don’t drag them to the Drag Queen Story Hour. Just like if you’re a man who doesn’t like gay marriage, don’t marry another guy.

The drag queens have every right to express themselves just as you should have every right to ignore them, just like Jack Phillips has the right not to use his expression to make a cake for a gay wedding. And just as parents should have the right to send their kid to a school of their choice, including a religious one, parents have a right to send their kid to a preachy drag show.

But it is at a public, government funded library you say. Yep, that library is a government facility which is widely open for many people and groups to use. I have been to government-hating libertarian-leaning meetings in rooms in public libraries. With rare exception folks can put on a lot of stuff in a library.

The drag queens need to make those who want to shield their kids look like bigoted prudes. Most, of course, aren’t. But the public relations narrative is clever — the queens want diversity and inclusion while the prudes want censorship and separation. PR victory here goes to the queens.

The better way to fight absurdity is with absurdity. Use that same library for something the social justice warriors would find offensive. I don’t know, a Drag Queen Concealed Carry Class for Toddlers, the Stay-at-Home-Mommy Story Hour, the Creationist Puppet Show?

Let’s see if the library and the media give you as much love. See what the haters do to protest. Put their tolerance to the test.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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