“Drag story hour” faux controversy distracts from youth action, prayer blunder

Democrats in the State House have been banned from using the building’s conference rooms because they used one for a “Drag Story Hour” with Planned Parenthood, allegedly in secret. In rationalizing the ban before the media, conservatives fretted about childrens’ exposure to “radical activism” and “perverse ideology,” however no children were present at the event.

A clip of the event being circulated in right wing media shows no illicit or transgressive content. In it, a person in drag merely reads about making change for trans people “one day at a time” and urges parents to listen to their kids about who they are.

According to lawmakers present, the event largely consisted of stories for legislators of what it’s like to grow up queer, with messages celebrating diversity and how one’s value is not defined by their sexual or gender identity.

This manufactured controversy comes just a few days after conservatives got caught holding a secretive prayer circle in the Senate after hours to “speak in tongues” on the floor, urging Jesus for a full ban of abortion.

It also comes just one day before a historic civil rights event unfolded without media fanfare: Arizona’s first-ever LGBTQ+ Youth Day at the Capitol, during which about 30 young people repeatedly urged to be free from political scrutiny over their identities.

The media seized on the drag “scandal,” which has seemingly overshadowed the youth action in the minds of reporters. The drag event, it seems, was well-timed to be used as an instrument to distract the media from the messages of young people, along with Republicans’ prayer circle blunder.

“We are tired of having to make statements about us living authentically,” said Rep. Lorena Austin (D-9) at a press conference during LGBTQ+ Youth Day. This was a common sentiment among the youth in attendance at the event.

Many young people present said they’d rather simply focus on the everyday business of being a student, but they’ve been compelled to launch LGBTQ+ clubs on campus and attend school board meetings regularly because of anti-LGBTQ+ policy being pushed there.

“I think they finally saw someone like them,” Austin said.

One event attendee said “It was just really nice to finally see some real representation of LGBTQ youth and it meant so much to me, and I’m sure everyone else, that these incredible representatives that took the time out of their day to come to this and listen to us and ask us questions.”

Though young people at the event reiterated a desire to be left out of politics altogether, it seems legislators can plan on hearing more from them.

LGBTQ+ Youth Day at the Capitol was organized by, GLSEN, one n ten, Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization, Human Rights Campaign, and Representative Lorena Austin (D-9). Advocates interested in helping part of future youth actions can subscribe to their newsletters to know what’s happening.