At Tennessee Tech, a recent drag performance had school administrators up in arms after claims that a performer “mocked” Christianity by performing a partial striptease to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.”
The show, put on by Upper Cumberland Pride at Tennessee Tech’s Backdoor Playhouse, featured local drag artists and attendees of all ages, which, as usual, was the sticking point for conservatives after getting hold of the video on social media.
Tennessee Tech University hosted a drag show that had little kids handing cash to the drag queen who was performing a dance clearly meant to mock Christians. Every parent who pays to send their kids to @tennesseetech deserves to know that this is what they’re allowing on campus. pic.twitter.com/Q4I9uR2tcT
— Landon Starbuck (@LandonStarbuck) September 7, 2022
The video caused such an uproar that Tennessee Tech’s president Phil Oldham felt the need to release a statement about the event after canceling two upcoming drag events on campus.
“I also am offended by disparaging mockery toward any religious group,” he continued. “To be clear, this was not a university sponsored event. No university funds were used. Two registered student groups facilitated the scheduling and promotion of the event. Although registered student organizations have the ability to reserve space on campus, the programming should not include obscene, lewd, or explicit activities.”
There’s just one problem with this logic: Christianity mocks itself with any help from us.
In keeping with the recent tradition of conservatives leveling “grooming” charges against queer folks, the outrage came primarily from folks freaked out by the fact that this was an all-ages drag show, as opposed to a 21+ show. True to form, the troll account Libs of TikTok took the occasion to blast the show and its performers.
After a right wing freakout Tennessee Tech president Phil Oldham issuing a statement about a drag show on campus hosted by a student group (that people went to by choice) 👇🏽 https://t.co/U6oUeal6Nm
— Cookeville Holler (@CvilleHoller) September 9, 2022
Upper Cumberland Pride clapped back, explaining that the shows have been an important aspect of the Cookeville queer community for years.
Which like,…duh. Imagine living in Cookeville, Tennessee and waiting months for the tiniest sip of queer entertainment only to be told that your entire raison d’etre is mocking Christianity (already a hilarious religion) and corrupting the children. This from a town that has a bar and grill called “Spankies?” Absolutely not.
But there’s an even bigger issue to consider here. As the advocacy group FIRE pointed out in a tweet, banning drag shows on the basis of performers mocking or even “criticizing” religion goes directly against the First Amendment, hunty.
Can’t get enough #queen news? We’ve got tea. @tennesseetech’s President vowed yesterday to investigate two student groups for hosting a drag show at the campus’ Backdoor Playhouse.
The prez’s warning violates students’ First Amendment rights. Let’s #drag him, shall we? /1
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) September 9, 2022