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Is Desmond amazing?

What kind of influences are child drag queens being exposed to?

June 10, 2019

12:12 PM

10 June 2019

12:12 PM

‘Desmond is Amazing’ claims Huffpost Queer Voices, is an ‘inspiring drag kid’ who proves that ‘the future is queer.’

Desmond Napoles is a 12-year-old boy who says that he was inspired to start dressing in drag when he watched RuPaul’s Drag Race with his mom when he was two years old.

Since 2014, Desmond has been performing at drag events and Gay Pride marches in costumes and make-up.

Many think that Desmond is an inspiration; proof that one can dress and speak however one prefers. Desmond has collaborated with fashion brands like Gypsy Sport and appeared at events like the New York Fashion Week.

In 2018 he was named as one of Out magazine’s Out100, ‘founded to celebrate and honor some of the most influential LGBTQIA figures.’

I take a dim view of the concept of ‘child stars.’ Children should not have to endure fame. This is true of child actors. It seems especially true of ‘drag kids’. 

People have criticized Desmond’s career, and portrayed his parents and collaborators as enablers if not outright abusers.

Progressives argue that the critics are merely bigots. A column in Out argued that Desmond is ‘a rainbow of positivity’, and that people who argue that his performances have gross sexual undertones are showing ‘blatant homophobia and transphobia’.

Newsflash: gender identity and sexuality are not one and the same…drag, whether performed by an adult or a child, is simply a means of gender play and expression. It is not a sexual event.

It’s that simple, huh. A child dancing on stage while singing songs about being ‘pretty and petite’ while men throw money at them is not sexual at all, and if you think it is, you must be some kind of bigot. Let me ask you, gentle reader, do you think any progressive would have made such a claim if the performer had been a young girl?

I have no wish to speculate about Desmond’s private life, his parents’ motivations and the feelings of his fans. What is public knowledge is disturbing enough. First, who lets their two-year-old watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, a television show that, as the Guardian reports, contains ‘quite heroic levels of innuendo’? Perhaps progressives will cackle at my prudishness, so let me emphasize that this just scratches the surface. In the Huffpost Queer Voices interview I referenced earlier, Desmond claims one of his greatest influences is ‘the Club Kids’, for ‘their fashion and their make-up, not the bad things.’ On his Instagram page, Desmond is described as ‘the world’s youngest Club Kid’.

That a pre-teen even knows who the Club Kids were should raise eyebrows, given that the drug-crazed party-going gang were best known for organizing events featuring ketamine, cocaine and acts like:

‘…the man who drank piss, the woman who fucked an amputee’s stump, the drag queen who sprayed her champagne enema onto the crowd. Piss, shit, blood, and death…’

This is arguably not what Desmond means by ‘the bad things’. The worst thing was the Club Kids leader Michael Alig killing and dismembering his friend Andre Melendez after an argument. That was a step too far even in New York.

Astonishingly, Desmond has appeared on the podcast of the now-released Alig. I get it. Criminals can be rehabilitated. But is this someone a parent should let their 12-year-old chat with? Sitting before, no less, a painting of a little girl that bore the word ‘Rohypnol’.

Desmond has a curious familiarity with drugs. In a livestream he was doing, the drag queen Bella Noche referenced ketamine and he pretended to snort drugs from his hand. Now, I am not saying that Desmond is doing or has done drugs. But, still, what kind of influences is this kid being exposed to? I’m all for kids being educated about the harms of drug use but that does not extend to telling 10-year-olds the method for consuming ketamine.

Social conservatives kept calling the police on Desmond’s parents. In March, his parents claimed that the Child Protection Services had investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing. That might be true in a legal sense. Is it true in a moral one? The mom claims that they just ‘allow Desmond to be himself and to do what he loves’. Again, let us assume that this is true. If your child wanted to cavort around in front of adult men for tips, would you say yes? If your child took an interest in a bunch of drug-addled fetishists, would you indulge him or her? If your child wanted to hang out with a convicted killer in front of his creepy artworks, would you make it happen?

The corner progressives have talked themselves into is that they have to claim that such permissiveness is not just acceptable but inspiring. You can make anything inspiring nowadays if you wrap it up as some form of innovative self-expression. What kind of bigot disagrees with people being themselves? The trouble is that kids have no coherent, authentic self but different influences, and Desmond’s are more worrying than inspirational.


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