Academic 'experts' warn that banning drag events for kids will lead to 'violence'

The academics assembled by Northwestern University deny that drag is inherently sexual and allege that viral videos showing children at explicit drag shows are fake.

There have been a number of documented cases of children being exposed to sexual content at drag shows.

A panel of individuals assembled by Northwestern University criticized bans on minors attending drag shows earlier this month, suggesting that such legislation will lead to “violence.”

The Illinois university says it assembled and interviewed the individuals, styled as “experts at Northwestern University,” in response to a recent pair of Tennessee bills that aim to limit children being exposed to adult performances, as well as similar legislation in other states. 

[RELATED: University hosts ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ for 2-year-olds]

One of the two Tennessee bills specifically bans adult performances, including those involving “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest, or similar entertainers,” from taking place in public spaces. The other bans the administration of puberty blockers and gender-transitioning surgeries to minors.

Both bills were recently signed into law.

The legislation makes events like drag queen story hour, which often takes place at public libraries and schools, illegal in many cases.

Alithia Zamantakis, who researches “trans youth and resilience” at Northwestern, was quoted as saying that “[w]e can expect that these laws will not only disproportionately affect trans women of color legally, but will also allow some to feel entitled to inflict ever greater physical and verbal violence as well.”

She went on to claim that many of the videos circulating on social media showing drag queens performing in front of children are “fake,” having been doctored using “well-developed video editing software” in a way intended to “incite violence.”

Other interviewees argued that drag isn’t “inherently sexual” and that sexualized performances “are already legislated to happen out of the view of children in adult-only bars and clubs.”

Despite these claims, there have been a number of documented cases of children being exposed to sexual themes at drag shows.

[RELATED: UArizona advertises ‘Drag as Therapy’ workshop as ‘kid-friendly’]

In July of 2022, video surfaced of a nearly-nude drag queen with exposed prosthetic breasts, and dollar bills stuffed into his thong, strutting in a Florida bar with a young girl holding his hand. 

A month earlier, a gay bar in Texas invited children to perform on stage with drag queens, with a neon sign in the background reading “It’s Not Gonna Lick Itself!”

Campus Reform contacted Northwestern University and those interviewed by the university for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.