I doubt I’m the only one in the nine counties, who remembers when voters were hyper motivated to write letters or fax their members of Congress about health care, wars, civil rights or to join demonstrations or sit-ins or wave campaign signs.
In the 21st Century we text, join chat rooms or at times grab a gun and vest and march off to protect or protest brunch drag shows or library readings. This Halloween, a man firebombed a Tulsa doughnut shop because it had hosted a drag event. I admit, over the years I’ve enjoyed and laughed at drag performances. However, straight male adults are not the issue. It’s the T” in LGBTQ, i.e. transgender and the kids.
In the last quarter of the 20th Century, the US population began to accept L & Gs as normal friends and colleagues or just regular people. Federal and state laws were passed prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation; some more recently, added transgender. A movement emerged later, led by gay parents and others, who wanted their children to gain a broader understanding of human sexuality. Thus, was launched family-welcoming drag shows and book readings in schools and libraries, aimed at exploring sexual diversity.
And then circa 2015, sex and children became politicized in different ways: most prominently by school boards who began banning exposure, by younger students, to sexual subjects in class rooms, as well as books addressing them. At the same time, the popularity of drag performances by restaurants and other commercial venues became widespread, profitable attractions. However, before the recent midterm elections, higher volume rhetoric against drag shows and readings with children in the audience , sharpened.
Senator Marco Rubio said these events “indoctrinate children;” and Governor DeSantis pronounced them part of a “disturbing trend”. The president of the Family Research Council accused the people who organized a drag reading at a Montana zoo, of “…targeting our children and grooming them (to decide to become LGBTQ).
Several states are considering legislation to prevent transgender people from participating in pubic shows, regardless of the nature of the performance. Other states are focusing on laws to prevent drag shows or in Texas to stop minors from attending drag performances. The Texas draft text defining drag is quite comprehensive: “…any show in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth, using clothing, makeup or other physical markers.
I’m told, whether it’s true or not, that President Nixon introduced abortion as a campaign issue, during his reelection bid. In retrospect, I wish he had stuck to law and order and civil rights and violence in politics, following the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.
My grandchildren consider me hopelessly antique, but that’s OK. I felt the same way about mine, but just didn’t tell them.
In December 2022, I wish our politicians argued and railed about national and state issues related to substantive, problem-solving and legislation aimed at serving the commonweal. However, my grandchildren are doubtlessly correct, I am terminally oriented to the past.
Transvestic Fetishism refers to drag performances or readings.
Tom Timberman is an Army vet, lawyer, former senior Foreign Service officer, adjunct professor at GWU, and economic development team leader or foreign government advisor in war zones. He is the author of four books, lectures locally and at US and European universities. He and his wife are 24 year residents of Kent County.