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Jennifer Hopelezz (right) at her niece Hattie's 9th birthday party in Sydney with her drag sister Vicki Leaks (left)

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Jennifer Hopelezz reckons life without sparkle is just a bit of a drag, really.

To scare the public about queer people, you can always rely on the good ol’ tactic of claiming that gays are out to snatch their precious kids. It’s like a timeless horror flick. Now, let’s get one thing straight: homosexuality has absolutely nothing to do with pedophilia. But why bother with facts when you have the self-proclaimed righteous spread their own “alternative facts”?

So, it was only a matter of time before the latest scare campaign zeroed in on drag events involving children. Drag Queen Storytimes have become a target for groups who protest, wave their pitchforks, and try to shut them down. Montana has now banned Storytimes. Banning all drag events with child attendees, originating in Tennessee has spread to five more states – we can only pray it doesn’t go global.

Shame that most kids love drag.

Let’s stroll down herstory lane. Drag Queen Storytimes started in 2015 in San Francisco by activist Michelle Tea. These events, mostly held in public libraries, are fun and educational, featuring drag queens reading children’s books, typically for kids aged 3-11. Their goal? To promote diversity, inclusivity and tolerance.

Now, last time I checked, parents have the right to decide what’s best for their own spawn. As right-wing nuts say, it’s “parental rights,” people! If parents think their mini munchkins will have a fabulous time at a drag show, then let them! “Ain’t nobody gotta tell ya what you gotta do” as J.Lo says.

Kids have incredible imaginations. They believe in talking animals, imaginary friends, and unicorns. We fool them with Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. Some even send their kids to questionable Children’s Beauty Pageants! And guess what? They adore glitter, dressing up, and putting on ridiculous shows that make adults doubt their life choices.

But now, these same adults who cheer on their kids’ wild imaginations are picketing Drag Storytimes and acting like doomsday approaches. Why? Because the person reading is – gasp- a man in a dress! If Dame Edna were still gracing daytime TV they’d cancel her too!

So, let’s unpack their accusations. “Stop recruiting kids!” they scream. Seriously? Do they think we’re plotting an army of mini drag queens to overthrow the patriarchy? Personally, I can barely get my eyelashes on straight, let alone lead a revolution against the capitalist power structure.

And then there’s the chant “No to grooming kids!” While I appreciate personal grooming, and think it’s also important for kids, I don’t think that’s precisely their intention. (On a related note, I would suggest hairdressers of the world unite and reclaim the term before it’s too late.)

Oh, and let’s not forget the battle cry “Stop pushing a radical agenda!” You got us there! We drag queens are indeed promoting a radical agenda – it’s called acceptance. Scandal!

Despite the haters and fearmongers, remember that laughter, love and glitter make the world a better place. So keep shining, fellow drag artists, spreading fun and joy. After all, what’s life without a little sparkle?

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