Why are so many progressive politicians dressing up in drag?

Here’s a Los Angeles Times headline that would have ended careers a few years ago: “A drag queen spanked Burbank’s mayor on video. It fueled a flood of anti-LGBTQ hate.” Yeah, you read that correctly. Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony was spanked by a drag queen at an event – and the story being pushed by the press is that this is really about how homophobic Americans can’t handle a bit of public sexuality from their politicians and what is the world coming to, anyway? 

“Suddenly now that I’m associating with queer folks, I am ‘unbecoming of a mayor,’” Anthony told the LA Times. “Nobody had any problem with me beforehand, and all of the shenanigans I participated in as a public official, because they found it hilarious and heartwarming and [saw me as] a man of the people who behaves outside the norm of our stuffy democracy. There is a huge anti-LGBTQ contingency moving its way through Southern California, and I am publicly fighting against that.” 

Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them get spanked in public by men in dresses. 

If you think this sort of thing is unbecoming for a politician, in other words, it is clearly a you problem. And as it turns out, this sort of thing is becoming… sort of a thing. Several San Francisco politicians are slated to perform at a drag show in September. Democratic District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar and Democratic District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mendelman will dress in drag and lip-sync songs at a drag nightclub.

If you find that unbecoming, be assured that you are the problem and that you should work on yourself. Indeed, the leader of the Liberals in Sweden, Jan Jönsson, recently put on a low-cut ballgown, wig, fake eyelashes, and makeup to participate in Drag Queen Story Hour – and shot a campaign ad while doing so. “Fairy tales are not dangerous for children and drag queens aren’t either,” he says sternly. “But populism and intolerance, those are dangerous for children and for adults too.”  

“When right-wing populism seeks to stamp its rule over culture and ban drag queens reading fairy tales, they are limiting children’s freedom, the freedom to laugh, be inspired and discover new worlds,” he continued. “They won’t be satisfied until the whole world is as grey and depressing as their own.” 

Jönsson was attacking the Swedish Democrats, who have publicly opposed drag events for children. Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson had the audacity to state, on TV, that a drag queen named Miss Shameless Winewhore might be unsuitable for children. Miss Winewhore’s partner in reading to children is called Lady Busty, and Jönsson wanted it to be crystal clear that Miss Winewhore and Lady Busty should absolutely be reading to kids.  

In a tweet Jönsson sent out with the video, he gave credit to the drag queen Admira Thunderp–y – I assure you I am not making this up – for getting him dressed up to read to the children.  

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