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Children Exploring Drag

children in drag
In an age defined by identity politics, the debate on child drag queens are some of the most contentious. For critics, the subculture represents the disgrace of youth and everything that they consider “normal”. To others, it’s merely kids just playing dress up.

Young Queens Finding their Feet in Drag

Queen Lactacia

queen lactacia The child in the centre of all of this political and cultural debate, is a 10 year old called Nesmis Quinn Mélançon-Golden, who is most commonly known as Queen Lactacia and is one of the most prominent child drag stars in Canada. At the time of his first show, Nemis was eight years old and had been experimenting with song and dance as well as dressing up in women’s clothes for several years. For both his mother and himself, performing just felt like a natural progression. “There’s a video somewhere of me lip-syncing to Ariana Grande in a pink tutu when I was six,” says Nemis. “Drag isn’t a thing you imagine a child to do, but we don’t care what people say.” His mother Jess, describes Nemis as the most confident, unapologetic person she’s ever met. And it’s hard to argue with her. It’s difficult to imagine him ever becoming bothered by his peers comments for his performance choices.  

Lewis Bailey

lewis baileyLewis Bailey is a 14 year old gay lad from the West Midlands who wanted to perform drag in his school talent show. But he was distraught when he was told by his teachers that the act that he had worked really hard on, was not permitted for the show. Their reasoning was that it is illegal for under 18s to take part in drag act competitions. The principal said the school “stands by our belief that it is not appropriate for young people to perform drag acts”. Despite the fact there was no swearing, raunchy behaviour and nothing too ‘over the top’ the school stood by their decision saying “We respect the long tradition of female impersonation in theatre, however to appear as a drag queen goes beyond this”. Lewis wanted to do drag after watching the famous show “RuPaul’s Drag Race“. His mother said that after watching the show it had massively improved his confidence and self-esteem. He was later invited to perform at Drag World in London. lewis bailey So while child acts are accepted by some, others argue that drag shows are in essence ‘adult-themed arenas with sexual references and adult humour’ and is a form of entertainment that should not be subjected onto a child. But then on the side of the debate where child drag is accepted, as long as it is under the right supervision and in a controlled environment, such as DragWorld, then what is the real harm?
Shannon Halliwell (She/Her)
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4 Responses

  1. Young children shouldn’t be sexualized, youths are incredibly impressionable and seek attention and approval. A sexually provocative dance or performance that recieves approval and fame will encourage children to seek that type of attention, not even knowing yet what sexual attention is. Dress up at home, a harmless and private game kids play, is being capitalized on to teach sexually provocative behavior to these kids, its also a massive lure to pedophiles and perverts. I want every child to be accepted and find out who they are, when they are at the age where its not coercive. There’s a reason we don’t teach little kids striptease, or read them erotica; humans need to develop reason and self control before they become sexually active, for all of our sakes.

    1. The only people sexualising children in drag are people like yourself who choose to see it that way. Children such as those in this article are simply exploring an art form and their creativity. There is nothing sexual about wearing makeup and dressing up. No one is forced into drag.

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