Drag queen calls out senator who accused her of 'grooming' children after reading kids' book on TV

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By stefan armitage

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Drag queen Courtney Act has responded to a senator who accused her and ABC of "grooming" children following her appearance on a kids' TV show.

Courtney Act is the stage name of Australian drag queen Shane Jenek, who has found international fame over the last two decades thanks to her appearances on shows like RuPaul's Drag Race, Australian Idol, and Big Brother.

However, a recent appearance on ABC's Play School Story Time led to some outlandish accusations from Liberal senator Alex Antic.

Act, 40, appeared on the show in her drag persona in order to read to young viewers The Spectacular Suit - which tells the story of a girl who prefers to wear pants over dresses.

However, the appearance led to 47-year-old Antic accusing ABC of "grooming" children during a Senate estimates hearing earlier this month, per the Daily Mail.

While holding up a screenshot from the show, Antic asked the room: "Why is ABC grooming Australian children with this sort of adult content?"

The remark led to several other politicians - such as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young - dismissing the claim and hitting back at Antic's use of the word "grooming" - which is defined by children's charity NSPCC as "when someone builds a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them."

Hanson-Young told Antic at the time: "Grooming is a really serious matter. It is not for being played with by conservative senators to make headlines."

Now, Act has penned a response to Antic in the form of an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Credit: ABC

After explaining that she read plenty of children's books that portrayed heterosexual relationships as a child, Act writes: "Yet somehow, despite it all, I turned out to be a flaming, proud, successful and balanced queer person."

The famed drag queen then emphasizes: "Showing queer kids straight content won’t turn them straight. And showing straight kids queer content won’t turn them queer. Your queer kids will be queer regardless of whether you show them examples or talk to them about it. It just depends on how much shame you want them to carry into their lives."

Act then explains that children "learn about heterosexual relationships and binary gender roles from the moment they are born" - for example, Snow White falling in love and kissing her prince.

Therefore, children should also be able to learn about queer identities in the form of "age-appropriate content", Act writes.

The international performer emphasized her point over on Instagram, writing: "Showing queer kids straight content won’t turn them straight. And showing straight kids queer content won’t turn them queer. Your queer kids will be queer regardless of whether you show them examples or talk to them about it.

"It just depends on how much shame you want them to carry into their lives."

Speaking on The Project, Act also spoke out against Antic's choice to use the word "grooming" against her and ABC.

"Grooming is really serious. Grooming is the act of an abuser," Act says. "To use terms of abuse when no abuse is actually happening, really takes away from the occasions when it is happening.

"I'm on television reading a children's book. There was nothing untoward about it. It was really quite a shocking thing to be accused of."

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy

Drag queen calls out senator who accused her of 'grooming' children after reading kids' book on TV

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Drag queen Courtney Act has responded to a senator who accused her and ABC of "grooming" children following her appearance on a kids' TV show.

Courtney Act is the stage name of Australian drag queen Shane Jenek, who has found international fame over the last two decades thanks to her appearances on shows like RuPaul's Drag Race, Australian Idol, and Big Brother.

However, a recent appearance on ABC's Play School Story Time led to some outlandish accusations from Liberal senator Alex Antic.

Act, 40, appeared on the show in her drag persona in order to read to young viewers The Spectacular Suit - which tells the story of a girl who prefers to wear pants over dresses.

However, the appearance led to 47-year-old Antic accusing ABC of "grooming" children during a Senate estimates hearing earlier this month, per the Daily Mail.

While holding up a screenshot from the show, Antic asked the room: "Why is ABC grooming Australian children with this sort of adult content?"

The remark led to several other politicians - such as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young - dismissing the claim and hitting back at Antic's use of the word "grooming" - which is defined by children's charity NSPCC as "when someone builds a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them."

Hanson-Young told Antic at the time: "Grooming is a really serious matter. It is not for being played with by conservative senators to make headlines."

Now, Act has penned a response to Antic in the form of an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald.

size-large wp-image-1263179042
Credit: ABC

After explaining that she read plenty of children's books that portrayed heterosexual relationships as a child, Act writes: "Yet somehow, despite it all, I turned out to be a flaming, proud, successful and balanced queer person."

The famed drag queen then emphasizes: "Showing queer kids straight content won’t turn them straight. And showing straight kids queer content won’t turn them queer. Your queer kids will be queer regardless of whether you show them examples or talk to them about it. It just depends on how much shame you want them to carry into their lives."

Act then explains that children "learn about heterosexual relationships and binary gender roles from the moment they are born" - for example, Snow White falling in love and kissing her prince.

Therefore, children should also be able to learn about queer identities in the form of "age-appropriate content", Act writes.

The international performer emphasized her point over on Instagram, writing: "Showing queer kids straight content won’t turn them straight. And showing straight kids queer content won’t turn them queer. Your queer kids will be queer regardless of whether you show them examples or talk to them about it.

"It just depends on how much shame you want them to carry into their lives."

Speaking on The Project, Act also spoke out against Antic's choice to use the word "grooming" against her and ABC.

"Grooming is really serious. Grooming is the act of an abuser," Act says. "To use terms of abuse when no abuse is actually happening, really takes away from the occasions when it is happening.

"I'm on television reading a children's book. There was nothing untoward about it. It was really quite a shocking thing to be accused of."

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy