A video has recently gone viral (again) of “drag kid” Desmond Napoles hanging out on a couch with an adult cross dresser and joking about doing drugs. The child, who was about 9 years old at the time of the original livestream, appears visibly intoxicated while he pretends to snort ketamine off the back of his hand. In another viral clip, Desmond can be seen sitting with a man named Michael Alig who was convicted of beating another man to death and cutting up his body.
These videos are just two in a whole catalogue of disturbing clips involving this young boy — the most disturbing of which must be Desmond’s 2018 “performance” at a gay club in Brooklyn. The grown men in attendance can be seen hooting, hollering, and throwing dollar bills at the child as he dances for them. This is perhaps only slightly less grotesque than the time when a different drag kid posed with a nude adult male for a magazine shoot.
It should not need to be explained that this drag kid phenomenon is morally abominable. These boys are victims of abuse, and it is an abuse being carried out in broad daylight (or at night on stage at gay clubs) for all to see. Desmond Napoles in particular is clearly not well. The fact that he even knew what ketamine was at the age of 9, much less how to use it, seems to suggest that his physical — as well as emotional and psychological — health is in serious danger. In a sane culture, his mother would be perp walked into jail wearing shackles and a jumpsuit, as a warning to any other parent who would consider exploiting their children in this way. Instead, she is the subject of fawning puff pieces while leftists trip over themselves to congratulate her bold and progressive parenting style.
The absurdity of this reaction is thrown into sharp relief when you consider how nearly everyone would respond if Desmond were named Debbie or Danielle. If this was a girl dolled up to look like a grown woman and paraded on stage for the satisfaction of actual adults, the condemnation would be close to universal. Actually, we don’t need to imagine this as a mere hypothetical. Child beauty pageants come in for heated criticism all the time, and rightly so, and precisely for the reasons some of us criticize child drag shows. In fact the very same outlets that celebrate drag kids like Desmond also publish lengthy articles warning parents about the danger of pageant life for girls.
This contrast is even more startling given that beauty pageants — as tacky and inappropriate as they are, in my view — aren’t nearly so debauched and explicitly adult-oriented as a drag show. I admit I have never been to a beauty pageant, child or otherwise, but I’ve never heard of one that involves young girls dancing on stage while adult men cheer and throw dollar bills. And I’ve never heard of a 10-year-old beauty queen posing with a naked man for a magazine. And I’ve never seen a beauty pageant contestant wearing quite the same kind of ostentatious, definitely not-for-kids outfits that drag kids “perform” in. Indeed, drag kids have almost nothing to do with child beauty queens, as drag shows bear a much closer resemblance to burlesque performances than mere beauty pageants. Presumably, we would all agree that young girls should not be recruited to perform burlesque. Yet some of us find it totally acceptable if the girls are boys pretending to be girls.
Not to be redundant, but it bears repeating: almost everyone agrees that young girls should not be dressed as grown women for the entertainment of adults. You will find almost no one who will disagree with that assertion. But you will find plenty of people who find the assertion not just wrong but bigoted if it’s applied to young boys. This is incoherent, illogical, inconsistent, perverted nonsense.