Republican-led anti-LGBTQ hysteria is sweeping the nation. Conservative governments in several states are proposing and passing some of the deadliest attacks on the LGBTQ community in years. Much of this targets transgender people and drag performances, ostensibly to protect children from sexual exploitation.
These bills, particularly Tennessee’s recent drag ban, have inspired scores of people to post TikToks about a community they say is overwhelmingly likely to prey on children rather than drag queens: the clergy. Many of these TikToks contain the hashtags #dragban and #pastor.
Some of the TikTokers share their own stories of pastors and youth pastors who they say have nurtured and molested them.
Others use news stories, memes or songs to point out the fact that there are far more stories of clergymen – like Catholic priests – exploiting children than drag queens doing the same. More than one used Pedro Pascal and Nicholas Cage’s hugely popular meme to get their point across.
@that_disney_mom Tennessee bans drag shows but creeps like this can still be free around our kids!!! ##lgtbq##lgtbq🏳️🌈##dragshow##tennessee##bans##wtff##makeitmakesense ♬ Original sound – NotTheRealTraceyDelaney
Several TikTokers pointed to last year’s Southern Baptist Convention list of over 700 pastors accused of sexual misconduct and child abuse over the past 15 years.
“The major Christian denominations have suppressed, ignored, and blocked allegations of sexual abuse for nearly two decades,” says a moderator in a TikTok that begins with a screenshot of a story about Tennessee’s drag ban. “A damning new report commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention describes extensive cover-ups by senior leaders who were ‘solely focused on avoiding liability.'”
Another TikToker posted clips with several stories of child sexual abuse by clergy and wrote, “Let’s attack drag shows when ALL THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THEY ARE PASTORS.”
Personal stories of being exploited by preachers and youth pastors seem to resonate particularly well on the platform. Several TikToks from alleged survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation by church leaders have gone viral in recent weeks.
In a TikTok with over 2 million views, a woman accused her youth pastor of molesting her as a teenager. “I grew up in Tennessee. Drag queens never chased me. Do you know who did it?” the text on the screen reads. “My straight youth pastor. My heterosexually married youth pastor.”
The TikTok is captioned, “Let me know when youth pastor ban kicks in.”
Another woman shared her story of being nursed by her youth pastor when she was 14 years old. The man, she said, was in his 30s, married and had one child. They started dating when she was 17. She said he also physically abused her. Her TikTok has almost 6 million views.
TikToker @hoewhite93 stitched the video and wrote, “I’ve never met anyone groomed by a drag queen but that’s an all too familiar story.”
Several posts referenced recent reports of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) wearing drag in high school, which surfaced just before he signed legislation banning drag performances on public property or in front of minors. The bill has been heavily criticized as an attack on drag performers and the transgender community.
TikToker @amberlemaylive called Lee a “hypocrite” for wearing drags as a teenager. Amber, whose biography describes her as “the Larry King of drag queens,” further pointed to the case of a Tennessee pastor who was recently sentenced to 45 years in prison for possessing child sexual abuse material containing three minors and one Minors conveyed the intent to sexually abuse them.
@amberlemaylive Church tours or drag queens? who is the problem ♬ O-Ton – Amber Live!
“There is no evidence that a drag performer poses a danger to children, but they are forbidden from appearing in public while we hear about multiple instances of abuse by members of the clergy each week,” Amber concluded.
“Would you rather have your child attend a travesty or church service?”
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*Initial publication: March 9, 2023 3:39 pm CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot and covers all topics related to politics and technology with a focus on far right and conspiracy theories.
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/people-accuse-pastors-preying-kids-tiktok-drag-ban/ TikTok has been inundated with people accusing pastors of exploiting children