Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has hit out at those outraged by drag queens hosting educational events for young children, saying that they should be in ‘every school’.
Dana Nessel spoke out on Wednesday against ‘fake issues’ such as drag queens hosting reading and dancing events at schools and libraries that are dividing people, adding that ‘drag queens are fun’ and ‘make everything better.’
‘You know what is not a problem for kids who are seeking a good education? Drag queens,’ Nessel said during a speech at a civil rights conference, reports The Detroit News.
‘Drag queens are entertainment. And you know what I’ll say that was totally not poll tested, I’d say this, “A drag queen for every school”.’
Nessel added that drag queens lift children up when they are having ’emotional issues’.
Nessel’s comments drew immediate criticism from Republicans as debates rage across the U.S. about how gender identity and young children should interact.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has hit out at those outraged by drag queens hosting educational events for young children, saying that they should be in ‘every school’
‘”A drag queen for every school” is a great summation of today’s Democrat Party platform,’ tweeted Donald Trump Jr., the son of former US President Donald Trump.
Paul Cordes, the chief of staff of the Michigan Republican party, said Nessel’s comments are ‘unbelievable’.
‘This is not normal. She shouldn’t be allowed to joke this away. Dana Nessel is unfit for office, especially Attorney General,’ Cordes tweeted.
Nessel meanwhile said during her speech: ‘I am so tired of having prominent members of our state government create wedge issues that don’t help, that don’t heal us but divide us. And that’s all they do.’
Nessel said drag queens are ‘not a problem for kids who are seeking a good education.’
‘We need to take all communities in our state and lift them up and not tear them down,’ Nessel said.
Her comments come amid increasing questions in some circles over drag queens hosting events such as readings or dances with young children.
Last week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened to set child protective services on parents who take their kids to such shows.
His comments were sparked amid uproar at children being taken to a Dallas gay bar to watch a drag show where they tucked cash into their clothing.
A photo of of a drag queen reading to kids from Drag Story Hour NYC. New York City has spent over $200,000 since 2018 hiring the organization for events at public schools
Meanwhile on Saturday, a group of men allegedly part of Proud Boys stormed a Drag Queen story time at a San Francisco library shouting homophobic and transphobic threats.
Several of the men wore shirts emblazoned with assault rifles as they barged into the library around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
They hurled insults at the act Panda Dulce as he read to kids who were only in preschool and kindergarten during the controversial event.
A group of men allegedly part of the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys barged into the library around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday where Bay Area drag queen Panda Dulce was reading to children during one of the library’s Pride Month events
Kyle Chu, also known as drag queen Panda Dulce, who hosted the story hour, posted on Instagram that the group disrupted the event, shouting ‘tranny’ and ‘pedophile’
Dulce also wrote that the incident that happened on Saturday at the library is pushing organizers to enhance security measures at similar events, even ones meant for children and families
Kyle Chu, also known as drag queen Panda Dulce, who hosted the story hour, posted on Instagram that the group disrupted the event, shouting ‘tranny’ and ‘pedophile.’
The disruption ‘totally freaked out all of the kids’ and the group ‘attempted to escalate to violence,’ he wrote.
Deputies responded to the San Lorenzo Library following reports of a disturbance, Lt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. An ‘active hate crime investigation’ is now underway, as well as an investigation into the ‘annoying and harassing of children.’
No arrests have been made, no one was physically harmed, the sheriff’s office added.
The library told KNTV that the guests and the host were safely removed from the situation but returned, adding that nothing is stopping them from celebrating Pride Month.
However, Panda Dulce said the incident is pushing organizers to enhance security measures at similar events, even ones meant for children and families.
‘The men made homophobic and transphobic remarks against a member of the LGTBQ+ community who was hosting the event,’ the sheriff’s office said in a news release. ‘There was no physical violence. Deputies responded to the disturbance and are conducting follow up to identify the group of men and their affiliation.’
The Drag Queen Story Hour is described on its website as ‘just what it sounds like – drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores.’
The program was created by author Michelle Tea in San Francisco in 2015. While Drag Queen Story Hour has received positive reaction from many, they have also received backlash and have been targeted by anti-LGBTQ, far-right extremists.
DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.’
Dulce, pictured here during Drag Queen Story Hour at a different time – said the disruption on Saturday ‘totally freaked out all of the kids’ and the group ‘attempted to escalate to violence’
Kyle Chu, also known as drag queen Panda Dulce, who hosted the story hour, posted on Instagram that the group disrupted the event, shouting ‘tranny’ and ‘pedophile’
Proud Boys barged into the San Lorenzo Library around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday
Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) originated in San Francisco California in 2015. It has grown and now takes places in several libraries worldwide. Pictured: Brooklyn New York May 2022
A drag performer from Drag Story Hour NYC reading to children at an event. Parents told the New York Post that the events happened at their children’s school often without parental consent
The incident comes after similar disruptions at Pride Month events across the nation.
In Idaho, more than two dozen members of a white supremacist group ‘Patriot Front’ were arrested near a Pride event after police say they were planning to disrupt a parade while equipped with riot gear.
Police say the 31 Patriot Front members had riot gear and were seen loading people into a U-Haul at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Multiple Bay Area officials decried the disruption at Saturday’s event.
‘Today while on a plane back to Washington, DC, I learned about an attack in our community by members of the Proud Boys,’ Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) said.
‘We must reject this hate and extremism whenever it shows itself, which is why I will be returning home this Thursday to meet with law enforcement and the community. There is no place for this hate in the East Bay, and we all need to speak up with one voice in saying so.’
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) decried the disruption at Saturday’s event
Senator Scott Wiener tweeted about the incident calling it ‘direct results of political attacks on LGBTQ people’
‘We strongly condemn this act of hate aimed at harming members of our community and our allies,’ according to a statement by multiple Bay Area officials released on Sunday.
‘We are living in a time when LGBTQ+ rights are under attack across several states in our nation, and sadly, even accepting and welcoming places like Alameda County are not exempt from this type of hate. Hate has no place in our community and must be met with decisive action.’
The incident comes as debates and controversies swirl across the country about the role of gender-identity exposure and education to children.
Just last week, a Dallas gay bar threw a pride month event that invited kids to join drag queens on stage beneath a pink neon sign reading ‘It’s not gonna lick itself.’
Viral video showed elementary-aged youngsters dancing with drag queens wearing skimpy thongs as well as handing over cash to them during the performance.
Speaking at a news conference in Fort Myers Beach Wednesday, Ron DeSantis revealed that he has asked his state to deploy its child protective services to look into the recent phenomenon of parents taking their children to drag shows, after video of kids attending a performance at a Dallas gay surfaced online over the weekend
What is the Parental Rights in Education law?
HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.
They say the bill’s aim is to ’empower parents’ in their children’s education, and make teachers recognize the distinction between ‘instruction’ and ‘discussion.’
‘What we’re prohibiting is instructing them in a specific direction,’ Baxley said about how teachers lead students in a classroom.
‘Students can talk about whatever they want to bring up, but sometimes the right answer is, ”You really ought to talk to your parents about that.”’
It states that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur.’
Part of it applies to kids in kindergarten through third grade, while a vague portion bans all discussion of ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’ in a ‘manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.’
It also requires districts to ‘adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,’ something LGBTQ advocates argue could lead to students being outed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.
The state House approved the bill in February. It was passed in the state Senate on March 8 in a 22-17 vote. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and it will come into effect on July 1.
An online brochure for the event that urged parents to bring their kids to the event – despite suggestive undertones and the dubious venue.
‘Mr. Misster’s Drag The Kids To Pride Drag Show provides the ultimate family friendly pride experience,’ the ad read.
It continued: ‘Do you want to hit the stage with the queens? We have FIVE limited spots for young performers to take the stage solo, or with a queen of their choosing! Come hangout with the Queens and enjoy this unique pride experience, fit for guests of all ages!’
The event was met with vitriol by Texans, who came out in full force to protest the show which saw protesters criticize parents lining up with their children to see the event, accusing them of ‘grooming’ and endangering the kids.
Governor Ron DeSantis threatened to deploy Florida’s child protective services on parents who take their children to drag queen shows.
The Republican warned ‘we have child protective statutes on the books’ and ‘laws against child endangerment’ as he condemned footage of the youngsters dancing with acts at a gay bar.
He said there appeared to be a ‘concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate’ and blasted the clip that showed a child in front of a sign that read ‘it’s not gonna lick itself’.
‘We have child protective statutes on the books,’ DeSantis, 43, told onlookers during a conference in Fort Myers Beach last week. ‘We have laws against child endangerment.’
He continued: ‘It used to be kids would be off-limits – used to be everybody agreed with that. Now it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.’
The conservative governor went on to point out some of the ‘inappropriate’ activity seen in footage of the show that kids had been exposed to at the Dallas bar – such as being encouraged to put money in the underwear of the drag performers.
‘You had these very young kids, and they must have been like 9, 10 years old, at a quote, ‘drag show,’ where they were putting money in the underwear of this’ an irate DeSantis said before eventually trailing off. ‘That is totally inappropriate. That is not something that children should be exposed to.’
He added: ‘We probably… we may have the ability to deal with that if something like that happens,’ suggesting his state was working on ways to prevent Florida parents for exposing their young to similar activities.
The Florida governor’s comments were prompted by now viral clips that showed elementary school-aged children dancing alongside men dressed in drag at the Mr. Misster gay club last month, beneath a neon sign reading ‘It’s not gonna lick itself’
A drag queen was seen in the video accepting dollar bills from audience members, including children
Meanwhile, it emerged that New York City has been spending heavily on sending drag queens into its public elementary schools, dropping more than $200,000 on appearances since 2018.
Just last month, records show the city paying $46,000 to send Drag Story Hour NYC to public schools, libraries, and street festivals, according to the New York Post.
Some parents say the programs were booked without their consent, while city officials have responded with outrage, according to the Post.
In 2022 alone, Drag Story Hour NYC has made 49 appearances at 34 public schools in New York City, according to its website.
The organization characterizes itself as promoting inclusivity, creativity, and acceptance of the self in children, by exposing them to drag queens reading similarly thematic books.
The company has received $207,000 from taxpayers since 2018, records show. $50,000 of that has come from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the other $157,000 from the NYC Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Department of Transportation, and Cultural Affairs.
The funds were provided by city council members, with $80,000 being allocated for drag programs in 2022 alone – over three times as much as was provided in 2020 for drag programs.
‘I can’t believe this. I am shocked,’ Helen Qiu, the mother of a Manhattan middle school student, told the Post, ‘I would be furious if he was exposed without my consent. This is not part of the curriculum.’
In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into a parental rights bill that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in kindergarten through third grade – popularly panned by the left as the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill.’
The guidance, officially titled The Parental Rights in Education bill, will become law from July 1, and teachers who breach its regulations can be sued by parents.
After the bill was signed by the governor in March, Disney issued a statement condemning the bill.
It read: ‘Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.’
The signing of the bill also saw DeSantis become the target of ire of Hollywood, with comedians Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes telling the Oscars audience shortly after the bill was passed that they could expect not only a great night, but also ‘a gay night’ – mockingly repeating the word ‘gay’ during the national broadcast.
President Biden also branded the guidance as ‘hateful’ earlier this year.
Disney staffers at multiple of the company’s locations across the country – along with employees at subsidiaries including Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm – staged walkouts to protest CEO Bob Chapek’s ‘slow response’ to publicly criticizing the law.
Amid the walkouts, the company finally expressed support for the protesters in a Facebook post – a day after Chapek, 61, said he regretted not taking a stance against the bill earlier.
DeSantis has since stripped the company of its 55-year-old special privileges that effectively allowed it to self-govern in his state.
The bill rips up the deal that allowed Disney to regulate land, enforce building codes and treat wastewater – and could cost the company millions in lost local taxes.
In April, a Tennessee lawmaker said he would ‘burn’ banned books if he could, as books about gender identity top the lists of banned titles at schools across the country.
In May, a Florida mother sued her daughter’s school after teachers created a ‘transgender support plan’ for her daughter without asking for parental consent.
This month, even Pizza Hut was pulled into the debate after it promoted a children’s book that featured a little boy who dresses in drag.
Also this month, DeSantis moved to ban transition therapies for children and revoke Medicaid support for trans adults’ treatments in Florida.
That includes suspending access to ‘puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries’.
‘Florida must do more to protect children from politics-based medicine,’ wrote state surgeon general Joseph Lapado, who DeSantis appointed to his post in February.
‘Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face a substantial risk of long-term harm.’