Nothing sexual about little boys in heels, ‘Drag Kids’ director insists

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CHRIS YOUNG/THE CANADIAN PRESS Bracken Hanke performs at Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop on Apr. 27, 2019.

The director of a film about prepubescent boys who perform onstage as women says sexuality has nothing to do with the little drag queens’ antics, and that “adults on the Internet” are the ones making the activity non-wholesome.

The pre-teen boys featured in Canadian director Megan Wennberg’s film Drag Kids wear stockings, high heels, bustiers, lipstick, hot pants, skin-tight metallic tank-tops, teddies, false eyelashes and layers of outlandish makeup.

They are, of course, highly promoted on their own social media channels. Viewer discretion advised.

Despite the overtly sexual dress, “sexuality is not something these kids are bringing into it,” asserted Wennberg. “That’s something adults on the Internet are bringing into it.”

Drag Kids debuted last week in New York City and is set for wider distribution in the coming year. The film features four young drag queens from around the world who, along with their families, are glamorized for “living within queer culture, going to drag balls and gay events,” as Queerty, an online magazine covering gay lifestyle, described their hobby.

Wennberg says that the Drag Kids’ parents act have to act as a barricade between their children and online critics, removing comments from their kids’ social-media channels before letting them log on. In the film, Stephan’s mom asks him to go play in another room while she moderates his Facebook page.

“If people would just listen to these kids speak for themselves, I think they could learn something about love and acceptance and having it be okay to be honest with yourself about who you are,” Wennberg said.

When the documentary’s trailer was promoted by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Twitter account this month it received 3,200 replies, the vast majority decrying the CBC for producing the film and excoriating the Drag Kids’ parents. Many accused the parents of child abuse and suggested they were endangering their sons.

On Facebook, Conservative Member of Parliament Brad Trost, who represents the riding of Saskatoon-University, posted that “Our tax-payer funded broadcaster, the CBC, has been espousing some pretty worrying topics seeking to touch our children.”

Below Trost’s post, Inverness Community Church Pastor Mark Palmer, of Inverness, N.S., wrote, “Sexualizing minors is abuse and they should be investigated.”

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