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It’s Pride Month! Keep it Simple, Allies

As complex as we are, we seek simplicity.

Who can resist silver bullet solutions and simple answers? We are attracted to generalizations, stereotypes, and binary either/or thinking because they are simple. One of the most appealing oversimplifications of reason is the “slippery slope” argument: the notion that holds that if we allow one step toward a certain thing, then we will slide down the slippery slope into all manner of rule breaking, leading us into disaster and chaos.

This simplistic logic is at the heart of current legal and cultural attacks on our LGBTQ communities, especially the bizarre connecting between drag shows and dangers to children. We are so far removed from the fun of “Some Like it Hot,” the film which ended the Hays Code, and crowd pleasers like “The Bird Cage” and “To Wong Foo.” What happened? In this new era, the simplistic idea is that drag performers represent a threat to children and somehow recruit them into trans and gay life. However, there is never any regard for gay and trans people who are raised in straight, heterosexual, religiously devout homes.

Who could argue against keeping children safe? It is a universal value. Simple. However, the complex reality is that the real danger to children is from any adult pedophile who harms children. Policy and law makers would rather legislate against the overblown dangers of drag performers than address the real and complex dangers posed by both straight and gay men in positions of power in their faith communities.

Why is it so easy to sell a narrative of the danger to children posed by drag performers and trans people? It may be because, as complex as we are, we prefer the simplicity of accusing someone whose lifestyle is different from ours. Many straight people know people who are gay, but not many straight people go to drag shows or know anyone who is trans.

This makes drag art as well as trans and non-binary people much more different and foreign to them. What is different can be sold as something threatening, something frightening. We reject the contradiction that people we know and are raised to trust – our uncles, fathers, brothers, priests, rabbis, imams and other devout men – actually represent a statistically greater danger to children. It’s a complexity that we reject, but it’s one we must face.



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