Even as some Republican-led states take steps to prevent children from being exposed to sexually themed drag performances, officials in blue states seem to be taking the opposite approach.
In one California school district, for example, administrators are under fire from parents for mandating a “multicultural expo assembly” at which LGBTQ students danced in drag.
The self-identified “queens” cited the red states “where we are actively being targeted” as their inspiration, asserting that their four-minute performance was “a protest for all the queens and transgender youth whose lives were lost for doing exactly what we are doing.”
This afternoon I was informed that Pleasant Grove High School held a mandatory Multicultural rally this past Friday and forced students to watch a drag performance- how is this relevant to anything Multicultural?
Of course I had to ask the Elk Grove School Board myself. pic.twitter.com/sVYKXlsHg9
— Patty Marty (@pattymarty3) March 8, 2023
In response to a reporter’s question regarding whether student attendance was mandatory for Pleasant Grove High School students, a district spokesperson confirmed that teachers and students “are expected to attend assemblies that take place during normal school hours.”
A related statement from the district noted that the assembly “was held in full compliance with student codes of conduct and existing requirements for on-campus events,” adding that all of its elements “were approved by school staff and administration.”
At a subsequent Elk Grove Unified School District board meeting, concerned parents — like Amy, a mother of two students in the district who was identified in news reports only by her first name — spoke out against the secretive nature of the required event.
“They knew there would be parents who would not support this, and this is why they let it in under the guise of ‘culture,’” she said.
Noting that her son was “uncomfortable” with the nature of the performance and felt “trapped” at the assembly, Amy added: “I’ve been a part of this district since 1983, and in 30 years, I have never felt betrayal like I felt on Friday.”
Of course, some local activists insisted that giving LGBTQ students a platform was more important than ensuring that students feel comfortable at a mandatory school event.
Beverly Kearney, who is affiliated with a Sacramento-based advocacy group, supported the district’s decision.
“While one parent may take offense to it, what about that parent whose kid for the first time got the chance to be who they are?” she asked. “I think it sends a message to kids that who they are is valid — it’s important, it matters, that there is nothing wrong with them.”
Another parent, identified only as Heidi, disagreed, insisting that “sexualizing kids under the umbrella of inclusivity, that is where it draws a line.”