A group of parents in Massachusetts are planning to protest an event where a drag queen performer will perform for students during their school day.
Newton North High School on Friday will be hosting a drag queen named Missy Steak, who is expected to “talk and sing to students at the 30-minute assembly as part of Transgender Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Awareness Day,” NBC10 Boston reported.
The school’s principal has reportedly sent out an email to parents stating that students are not required to attend and may instead choose to go to the cafeteria while the rest of their class attends the performance. Even so, the protest will reportedly be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Newton Centre Green on Thursday.
NBC10 Boston quoted one parent, Henry Barbaro, who said, “If it were up to me, I’d say, ‘Don’t do this event.’” He went on to say, “This performance is really forcing the hand of parents to either kind of do this draconian prohibition or say to their kids, ‘alright you can go,’ and hope for the best.”
Drag queen “Missy Steak” will be performing at a high school. Parents are planning to protest the event on Thursday. (NBC10)
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NBC10 spoke to the drag queen about the parents’ concerns.
“I’m not going to be doing anything that’s un age-appropriate,” Steak told the news outlet. “It’s not sexual. It’s fun, it’s art, it’s clownery.”
“We come in, and we sing, or we dance, or we read, and we leave, and it’s just something we do for fun and to bring fun to other people,” Steak added.
Steak as a performer reportedly has a history of controversial rhetoric.
In a “Meet the Contestants” segment for “Drag Gauntlet” that is viewable on YouTube, Steak said that the performer’s “secret weapon” is “my ability to maintain an erection despite all the anti-depressants I’m on.”
A drag queen lip syncs a song for Pride Month on the children-centric YouTube channel Queer Kids Stuff. Drag queen performances have increasingly been a major political wedge dividing the country. (Queer Kids Stuff/YouTube screenshot)
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Dr. Kathleen Smith, the Interim Superintendent of the school, provided Fox News Digital a statement defending the event.
“Students selected this specific performance because drag is a performance art that is often a part of LGBTQ+ events,” she said. “While there are many different types of drag performances, this particular performance is appropriate for the teenage audience. Like many of the performances in our schools, this performance seeks to deliver an important message – a message of kindness, inclusivity, and positivity – in a way that engages the teen audience.”
She went on to say, “We are proud to support our LGBTQ+ students as they build awareness of and celebrate their identities within the context of our larger school community.”
This is not the first major controversy for Newton North High School, having previously chosen to cast a play exclusively with persons of color.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is opening an investigation into the local district after a complaint filed by Parents Defending Education (PDE) alleged a student theater production limited participation to students of color, according to a letter sent to PDE.
The U.S. Department of Education building in Washington, D.C. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
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A January production of Newton North High School’s Theater Ink program titled “Lost and Found: Our Stories as People of Color,” would be “a reserved safe space for this exploration and for people of color to be vulnerable and support one another,” according to the show’s audition packet.
The student director said in a video on Theater Ink’s website, “All BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] students at North are invited to audition.”
Written with assistance from Kendall Tietz