Arizona drag queen calls out Republican candidate for governor’s hypocrisy—with plenty of receiptsJune 21, 2022
Lake took to Twitter with a particularly amped-up right-wing battle cry, saying an unspecified “they” “kicked God out of schools” and welcomed “the Drag Queens.” Lake went on to say “they” removed the American Flag and “replaced it with a rainbow,” and that “they” want to disarm Americans and “militarize our Enemies.”
“Let’s bring back the basics,” the tweet adds. “God, Guns & Glory.”
Over at The Arizona Republic, Stevens alleged that lake is actually “friends” with drag queens and has had her child “in front of a drag queen.” Stevens said he has personally performed drag in Lake’s home for her friends and family and that she would attend shows “constantly.”
“To make me be the bogeyman for political gain,” Stevens told the outlet. “It was just too much.” On their own social media, Stevens describes Lake as a “hypocrite” and describes them as having been friends in the past. Stevens seems to have evidence, too, in that they’ve shared a screenshot allegedly from Lake’s personal Instagram showing Lake with Stevens while in full dag. In the caption, Lake claims that “half” of what she knows about makeup she learned from watching “friends like Barbra Seville.”
“People needed something else to talk about because the conversation was getting too real about gun control and children being killed in schools,” Stevens said. “So people want to say ‘Let’s protect kids from drag queens’ instead of protecting kids from gun violence.”
In speaking to the Associated Press, Stevens said they had stayed in touch and even stood up for Lake privately, though he disagreed with her campaign. “I was just personally offended by that tweet,” he said in reference to the one above, adding that the “hypocrisy” really bothered him.
Stevens recalled to the outlet that he met Lake’s daughter, who he thinks was around 9 or 10 years old at the time, while he was performing as Marilyn Monroe for a coworker’s baby shower. He added that he met Lake in the late ‘90s while he was performing drag at a gay bar near the studio where Lake worked as a news anchor. He told the outlet that Lake and her colleagues would come to the gay bar after work some nights for the show, and they established a friendship, including discussing sources related to the queer community.
In speaking to the Washington Post, Stevens described himself as an “outspoken liberal” but that he maintained a friendship with Lake over the years partially because she had once supported his efforts to fundraise for AIDS research and hoped she would do so if elected as governor.
Lake’s campaign has addressed the posts Stevens shared but claimed the performer was a “Marilyn Monroe impersonator” and that it wasn’t a drag show. “The issue is activists sexualizing young children, and that’s got to stop,” the comment reads in part.
And that’s part of the right-wing rallying cry, sure. But it’s not reality. Drag isn’t about sexualizing anyone, much less children. LGBTQ+e adults do not exist for the purpose of “turning” or “grooming” anyone into queer, be it fellow adults or literal children. Obviously, some drag shows are meant for adults and will have more provocative or sexual humor, but that’s also the case for movies, comedy shows, and the like. Not everything is appropriate for kids, and that’s fine, but plenty of drag is age-appropriate. There’s nothing inherently sexual about drag queens giving storytime readings at libraries, for example, though conservatives freak out about just that sort of thing.
Lake’s campaign is threatening to sue Stevens for defamation.
If you’re curious, Lake’s campaign ad from last summer hits all the conservative talking points you’d expect, including bashing virtual learning during COVID-19, stroking hysteria over unhoused people as well as border control, the opioid crisis, and of course, the police being “under attack.”