On Oct. 13, Vincent Carcirieri published “Sashaying to Gomorrah in the Wake of Pride,” an article that equates the thousands of priests who have raped and sexually assaulted children with what he describes as the excesses of the “gay establishment and mass media activity in the promulgation of sexualizing youth.”
Carcirieri describes the Catholic church as having learned from its mistakes and changed, not mentioning an Associated Press investigation that found 1,700 priests who are credibly accused of sex crimes are living without any supervision from authorities or the church. Instead of focusing his attention on the many priests who have not been held accountable and are still an active threat, Carcirieri puts his energy into 12-year-old Desmond Napoles’ decisions about gender identity and performance.
I believe the language in Carcirieri’s piece is spreading hate for the LGBTQ+ community, which is why I feel the need to address the context surrounding the young drag star in question: Desmond Napoles.
The LGBTQ+ community gave birth to drag culture somewhere between the rise of underground gay bars in the 1930s and the Stonewall riots in the late 1960s. The drag we know and love was born out of protest. Members of the LGBTQ+ community were being hurt, arrested and killed for being who they are. It is only because of the strides the LGBTQ+ community has made that the United States is where it is today.
It is important to remember that drag did not start as a liberating performance in crop tops. Drag had to be kept hidden under oversized trench coats and in the basements of bars.
The popularized drag that most know and love might remind us of the famous competition show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which is comprised of mainly gay men who dress and act with exaggerated femininity as a performance. There have been transgender women who have discovered their identity through the show.
So, here is my argument in support of the young drag queen Desmond Napoles. People supporting Napoles are giving him the freedom to be himself — a freedom that many of them did not have in the early years of LGBTQ+ community members gaining rights.
For every person that tweets in support about his performance, there is a person who would fire him from a job simply because of who he is.
It was only within the last four years that same-sex marriage was legalized. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is not explicitly banned in the state of Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not LGBTQ+ people are protected from job discrimination. Remember that we are addressing a community that does not have equal human rights.
Each year, 5,000 LGBTQ+ youth take their lives. Desmond Naples is not one of them.
Queerness should not only be accepted in legal adults. When did you have your first crush or first become aware of your gender? Sexuality begins to develop during childhood. It’s time we stop forcing our LGBTQ+ kids into the closet and allow Desmond Naples to explore the uncharted waters that is the representation of queer youth.
Kirsten Magas is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and creative writing. KM868219@wcupa.edu