A North Carolina middle school used an unorthodox approach to quash bullying against gay students — by bringing in drag queens to perform and educate students on the LGBTQ movement.
What are the details of the show?
Teachers at Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina, recruited drag queens from the House of Coxx to entertain students after allegations of gay bullying circulated around the school.
Teachers Taylor Schmidt and Schara Brooks told CNN that the event was intended to reduce bullying so that children could focus on their educations.
"Our drive was to remove barriers to success, belonging, and the ability to thrive for all students," Schmidt said. "It called for a hard look at the roots of these behaviors and intentional actions to liberate not just the bullied from oppressive acts, but the bully from the oppressive root causes of their actions."
The two-hour event featuring the drag show took place earlier in May at the school, and also featured a panel discussion with a city council member, as well as a performance by the school's step team.
Students were permitted to opt out of the event, but CNN reported that most students decided to attend.
The performers danced to songs by Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and more, according to the News & Record.
What did the drag queens say?
The queens performed a show that was appropriate for middle schoolers, according to CNN.
"Central Park didn't water it down, but they made it age-appropriate to give it a depth to social justice and activism, which is the core of the queer experience," drag queen Vivica C. Coxx said.
"[The drag queens] have been the ones sticking their neck out for years to do this kind of work on behalf of the community," Schmidt added. "They create spaces that are free for everyone ... by fully recognizing every aspect of identity."
Coxx also told the outlet that they felt the performance helped to empower the children.
"I thought [students] must be feeling so empowered to see someone being themselves on stage," Coxx added. "Visibility matters, and seeing a queer person of color on stage saying 'This is me' has an impact that no one can really measure."
Another performer told the outlet that she hoped to make an impression on the students.
"You hope that the children listen to this," she said, "so that they know we didn't have this when we were growing up. We weren't seeing people like us being celebrated."
Schmidt said that organizing the presentation was a big deal, but it worked out in the end.
"If schools are nervous about doing the work of Pride and Liberation, we get it," Schmidt said. "But what to us seems daring, to our LGBTQ+ students could be lifesaving. Public school educators ultimately teach for liberation. That's the job."
After the show, an unnamed fifth-grader expressed appreciation for the show.
"I really, really, loved the Pride and Liberation celebration," the student said. "I think it really showed and maybe helped others who are LGBTQ+ really see that they are not alone and that they can really express who they are."
(H/T: The Daily Wire)