Yep. I’m a TERF and I took my son to drag queen story time.
To be fair, I don’t really consider myself a “TERF.” I’m more a “STEF” or “Some Trans Exclusionary Feminist.” The more I meet and talk to trans people, and study the trans experience, the more I realize that the most poisonous, misogynistic parts of trans activism represent a distinct minority among trans people.
Nevertheless the misogynistic trans activist minority, while small, is extremely loud. This minority appears to play an outsized role in erasing women from women’s healthcare, bullying women on social media for voicing the slightest dissent and causing even the medical establishment to self-censor when studying gender dysphoria in minors.
Famous feminists such as JK Rowling, Kathleen Stock and even Bette Midler (who worked hard to turn the tide against AIDS stigma back in the 90s) have been met with cries of “TERF! TERF!” whenever they voice concern about the vocal misogynistic minority of trans activism. Since I agree with a lot of what they have to say, I am happy to accept the label of “TERF” as well.
So yeah, last month I took my son to a Drag Queen Story Time at a library on the East coast. I drove almost an hour to get there, bribing my son with McDonalds so he wouldn’t complain about the trip. The Story Time was held outdoors near a sunny area. There were tables set up full of rainbow flags and candy. Children were running around with rainbows and striped flags painted on their cheeks. There was a little snow cone stand with rainbow syrup for the shaved ice. My son made a beeline for the rainbow pinwheels and grabbed one for himself without even asking the people at the table if the pinwheels were free (they let him keep the pinwheel).
There were also two police officer surveying the scene. It was clear they were there for security and to keep the event area safe.
Honestly the entire mini-festival couldn’t have been more wholesome if it had been organized by a group of 1950s television sitcom writers. It was a far cry from the videos constantly circulating DeSantis Twitter that show dimly lit nightclubs with drag queens in thongs slithering around confused children. The only drag queen there was dressed so modestly that even Bill Gothard would have told her to lose a few layers. The queen wore a full purple gown, puffed white blouse that went up to her chin, and long elbow-length gloves. She had a large silver-blond wig and was surprisingly petite. She was barely taller than my shoulder.
BTW, I don’t know the pronouns of the person who was in drag, but I will be using she/her pronouns to describe this person in drag. It’s traditional to address drag queens as she/her even though the vast majority of drag performers are cis men because
*clears throat* *taps mike*
DRAG PERFORMANCE AND BEING TRANS IS NOT THE SAME THING!
Y’all hear me back there? Ron DeSantis? Ben Shapiro? I know I’m one of those white suburban centrist TERF moms who y’all are trying to woo to your side with those anti-trans and anti-drag laws but come on. I was willing to give you your dues when you banned MTF trans athletes from women’s sports. That’s just basic science. But banning consenting adults doing a form of performance that dates back to Ancient Egypt? And spans cultures from England to West Africa to Japan?
And now DeSantis is expecting us to believe that drag queens are juggling dildos and giving out free HRT injections at public libraries. LOL. No. The drag queen at our Story Time sat down in front of a crowd of children and adults. “I’m a drag queen,” she said, “Do you know what that means?”
“You’re a princess!!!” several of the little girls in the crowd yelled.
The drag queen laughed. “No,” she said, “I sometimes dress like a princess, but I am a man. I am a man who sometimes dresses like princesses and movie stars. Because sometimes boys and men dress in gowns. And sometimes girls and women can dress like princes and kings. Because we are all different in our own special way. And today I am going to be reading two books about what it’s like to be a little different.”
Real shocking right? I mean, there was nothing at all said about being trans. In fact, saying that boys can wear dresses and implying they still can be boys while being in a dress is sort of the opposite of some trans ideology. There has been some concern with how trans activists like to blur the line between gender nonconforming behavior in cis people and gender dysphoria in trans people.
The drag queen then took out a picture book and read about two penguins, who were male, who raised a penguin chick at a zoo. She then took out another book about a fish with rainbow scales. The kids enjoyed it.
My son didn’t enjoy it, however.
I kept trying to have my son sit and listen to the stories but he didn’t want to. This was boring princess little girl stuff. He preferred to stand next to the police officers. He asked the officers about their guns and their cars. He asked about the fire engine parked further down the street. Overall, he was very uninterested in the Story Time.
In summation, no, my son is not trans now. Being exposed to a Drag Queen Story Time has not given him gender dysphoria. He has not changed his pronouns. He is not wearing dresses. He hasn’t colored his hair and started ranting on Tiktok about how being misgendered at “Starbucks” is literally genocide.
Nah, my son is the same. He’s still watching “Spiderman.” He’s still fixated on elevators (seriously, he can watch elevator videos on “Youtube” all day).
He’s still, you know, a boy.
Anyway, to all my fellow TERFs out there, drag is awesome. It’s not “womanface.” It’s not about taking over women’s spaces or endangering children. It’s a performance. It’s fun. And if there are any Drag Queen Story Times happening near you, take your kids and enjoy yourself. It’s gonna be a long, hot summer and frankly we all need a break.