You may perhaps have heard about the preteen drag performer who goes by the name “Desmond Is Amazing.” Desmond Napoles is an online sensation who’s appeared on “Good Morning America” and has become a cause célèbre among the LGBT community.
In January, a bit of a cultural scuffle happened that may have gone under the radar.
Desmond, who is managed by his parents, appeared in December, at the age of 11, at the 3 Dollar Bill, a New York City establishment that is either a “gay bar” (the description used by The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher) or “a queer, multifunctional performance space” (Out’s Devin-Norielle).
Desmond, after his performance, was tipped by members of the audience, leading commentators like Dreher to say it was “a manifestation of pedophilia, straight up.”
Devin-Norielle blamed Dreher — and all of perfidious “conservative media” — for “unleash[ing] a firestorm of misleading and fabricated news articles claiming that Desmond’s work as a drag performer is child abuse because, they claim, his performances are sexual and he receives tips.”
“These arguments are dangerous; conservative media has associated Desmond’s performance of drag with sexuality simply because he transgresses the binary and opts to express his femininity,” Devin-Norielle wrote. “Newsflash: gender identity and sexuality are not one and the same. Desmond’s exploration and toying of gender is not a discovery of his sexual attractions, nor is it a tactic to invite the sexual desires of others.” SEE MORE