A Republican politician in Ohio has proposed a change to child exploitation laws after a drag performance of a nine-year-old boy circulated on the internet.
The video shows the child, who’s drag name is Miss Mae Hem, doing cartwheels, splits and a death drop. They are wearing a pink leotard. The child is collecting money from patrons in the four minute video.
However, this has prompted state representative Tim Schaffer to expand the definition of child endangerment laws. This would prevent businesses with liquor licenses from holding performances in which a ‘child simulates sexual activity’.
In a statement he blamed the video for showing a child performing ‘provocative sexually explicit dance routine’.
Incorporating drag into child endangerment means people violating the law punished with up to six months in jail and a $1000 (€889.16) fine.
Miss Mae Hem’s mother speaks out
Speaking to the Toledo Blade, Miss Mae Hem’s – who’s name is Jacob Measley – mother defended the performance.
Jerri Measley said: ‘Jacob is just a guy who likes to dress up and dance and feel pretty. It’s kind of like Halloween every time he has the opportunity to do it.’
She claims critics ‘grossly warped’ her family’s intentions. Measley does understand why people are against her son performing in a bar, but says that is the only place for him to explore drag culture.
She continued: ‘Where else is there right now for children who identify as being in the LGBT community to explore that interest?’
A Democratic lawmaker from Ohio also supports the bill. She told the Toldeo Blade: ‘When we’re trying to prevent human trafficking from happening, especially the commercial, sexual exploitation of children, I don’t see how this is not very closely related to that issue – that concept of a rape culture where we’re normalizing this type of activity.’
The video gained traction after fringe right-wing website Christian Journal Media shared it. The editor-in-chief, Rich Penkoski, is a minister for Warriors of Christ. They denounce most Christians and Catholics.
This come after famous child drag star, Desmond is Amazing, hit headlines this year after their parents were investigated for child exploitation and abuse.
However, authorities dismissed the allegations.