Imagine this scenario: A married mother and father encourage their 11-year-old daughter to dress in sexually provocative clothing. They take her to a strip club and allow her to dance onstage. The patrons throw money at her. No one touches the girl in any way, given the environment. What are we to think of these parents?
Now imagine this scenario: A priest invites an altar boy to spend evenings with him. The priest encourages the boy to dress in women’s clothing. The priest tells the boy how nice he looks and how wonderful it is that he is expressing his true self. The boy and the priest spend time together watching videos of men in drag. He arranges for the 11-year-old boy to perform at a nightclub that caters primarily to a homosexual clientele. The patrons throw money at the boy. No one, including the priest, touches the boy, at the club or elsewhere. What are we to think of the priest?
These completely hypothetical scenarios are based on the real-life events of an 11-year-old boy named Desmond. He wears women’s clothing. His parents say he chooses the clothing and he enjoys wearing it. His choices are not just ordinary women’s clothing, but provocative women’s clothing.
In fact, his choice of clothing is stereotypical drag-queen clothing. His parents have arranged for him to have his own website, “Desmond Is Amazing,” to showcase his talents as a drag performer.
I don’t know if anyone has inappropriately touched him. But his parents did arrange for him to perform at a gay nightclub, where the patrons threw money at him.
If a mother and father did this to a little girl, we would think there was something seriously wrong with them. If a priest did this to a little boy, the whole country would be in an uproar.
We would instantly recognize either of these situations as exploitation and endangerment of an innocent child. We would recognize the nightclub performance as sexual grooming. Any adult who supported this would be regarded as a scoundrel. Some people might call on Child Protective Services to take the child into custody or demand the local authorities confiscate the nightclub’s liquor license.
I bring this up not to remove Desmond from his parents or to shut down the New York nightclub that hosted Desmond’s performance.
Instead, I want to issue a challenge to people who identify themselves as part of the “LGBTQ community”: Please stand up and publicly object to this.
I’ve seen a few individuals who describe themselves as “gay” or “liberal” objecting to this on social media. I am urging more of you to speak up.
The “Gay Establishment” could put a stop to this egregious exploitation of a child. They could speak publicly about boundaries and the innocence of childhood. In addition, it could probably solve this immediate problem without public incident. Someone from the Human Rights Campaign or other advocacy organization could quietly call up Desmond’s parents: “Look, we’ve spent millions of dollars convincing Middle America that transgenderism is harmless, heteronormativity is unnecessary, and that we aren’t interested in sexualizing children. You are creeping people out. Knock off the gay-bar scene with your 11-year-old.” I bet Desmond’s parents could be persuaded.
If those who consider themselves “sexual minorities” or “gender-nonconforming” were to speak up, the Gay Establishment just might listen.
Do these organizations really speak for everyone who identifies as “LGBT” on every issue? How about on this particular issue — of whether an 11-year-old should be performing in a nightclub of this type?
I raise this question from my own experience as a nonconforming, nonfeminist woman. Establishment feminism does not speak for me. Oh, sure, they try to create the impression that they speak for all women all the time. But they don’t speak for me or most of my friends. They have never spoken for me, and I have been a woman my entire life. That is what makes me wonder whether the Gay Establishment really speaks for all the people who identify themselves under its umbrella.
If they really want to contribute to the well-being of this preteen, they should speak out against his sexualization. Urge them to speak up on social media against this sexualization of a child. Urge them to write to the Human Rights Campaign, or any other advocacy group they may support. You can write to these organizations, as well. They will be more likely to listen to you than to me.
Then maybe we can put a stop to the exploitation of this child.
Send emails to the Human Rights Campaign at email@example.com.
Originally published at The National Catholic Register, December 28, 2019
One thought on “Stop Exploiting Desmond: A Challenge to the LGBT Community”
I don’t know the details of this particular child but I am a gay man and I do my best to raise my concerns about the gender ideology and the transition practices that are becoming so common. Part of me is just glad the family is making this performance and not medicating him to appear female.
But I have a number of close friends who do drag and it is generally not appropriate for a child in fact I am surprised they did allow him in the club even as a special event. When I was in a gay youth and young adult group we tried to get permission to stop at one of the dance clubs as part of our Christmas Caroling night where we went to donors homes and businesses to bring cookies and sing some carols as a thank you. The club was not interested in parental permission or good intentions but explained they support the laws that restrict access and would feel it incumbent on them to ask patrons to be mindful of dress, behavior and so on and basically loose a night of business, the reason — While some things are ok if you are an adult and especially a gay person who has lived with the restrictions that their patrons have but it is a new generation and the owner didn’t want to have kids seeing people being drunk and seductive since they already get enough gay images like that and then noted things like the gay men’s chorus or one of the gay friendly churches as possible options that might be more appropriate. I was disappointed at the time but as the years go by I am more and more impressed by the wisdom and sense of duty expressed in that refusal. Drag may be getting tamer I haven’t seen it much but I guess it is more family friendly in some settings.
I guess I would be inclined to have a kid help with stage design and costumes for a theater to support such an interest and later on he could get involved in some more drag specific performances but I could also imagine for some kids it would work and if it is kept as a special thing and mom and dad are overseeing the content he is exposed to it could be a very fun and positive creative outlet.
What I can respond to your call with is that I will voice my opposition to making drag the next club or regular event in my local area and if I know parents who are considering encouraging this in a child I will counsel them not to.
Something parents in this position should keep in mind is that this sis well and good when parents are supportive but for kids from unsupportive homes drag has often been a first step in a kids journey to transition and identify as a trans woman after experiencing the support and attention as a female that he desperately needs as a gay male. If you have a gay kid try conecting with other gay kids and take them on a chaperoned camping weekend, design some cosplay outfits if they are into that there is a lot that doesn’t delve into harsher times and adult dark comedy.
Of course that is where conservatives could help by making room for greater affirmative content and things like teachers who are allowed to be out or teach about gay and lesbian people in history so that kids aren’t left so isolated with only things like drag or even GSAs which have come to be the big evangelists for ridiculous gender identity indoctrination and theories of 20 different sexual orientations.
I appreciate your ability to invite constructive civil engagement across differences and it is a testimony to the fact that conservatives don’t have to nor do they all demonize gay people or assume we are wholly immoral since if you did you would not call upon our own sense of decency in this matter. To me the value of gay marriage being a reality is that it is a recognition of gay relationships that gives us access to participate in society but still recognizes that of course societies have standards of appropriate and inappropriate behavior including restraints and limits in what is appropriate in terms of forming a family and in terms of sexual behavior, And we can have broad standards of what is permissible even if we disagree about what is beneficial. Liberals will I hope grow our ability to celebrate civility and common values without demanding conformity of belief as we have been pushing for in recent years. Thanks for making me aware of a phenomenon that I was not keyed in to I will reflect on it further.