Public high school features student drag show, berates parents who object
PHILADELPHIA, June 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “Gay-Straight Alliance” at Penn Wood High School in southeastern Pennsylvania offered a drag show featuring male students dressed as females singing popular melodies.
According to The College Fix, the event, titled “Coming Home: A Place for Everyone to Feel Safe,” was on the Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, public school campus and had morning sessions at the school library on “Navigating the World: College and Beyond,” “LGBTQ+ Health Issues,” and “Being an Ally.” The all-day program offered a presentation on the history of cross-dressing performers and a video on New York City’s so-called Stonewall riots of 1969, while students could also attend “singing and runway performances” in the auditorium.
The May 22 events commemorated Gay Pride Month, Harvey Milk Day, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Lansdowne is a suburb of Philadelphia known for its “progressive” politicians. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) dubbed Lansdowne a “No Place for Hate” community. Earlier this year, the high school offered a student production of Rent, a Broadway musical that glorifies drag queens, cross-dressing, and homosexuality.
Reportedly, students could choose to attend classes as normal or attend the scheduled events. One of the shows included three cross-dressing male students who sang and danced to the tunes of “Level Up” and “Killing Me Softly.” Kemar Jewel, whose YouTube page has a music video titled “G.A.Y. (God Accepts You),” delivered a performance and a “pep talk” to students. Jewel is a graduate of the high school. The events came to a close with an on-stage sing-along to singer Lady Gaga’s paean to homosexuality, “Born This Way.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, school nurse Tracy Boyle is an adviser to the Gay-Straight Alliance. She told the newspaper, “We’re not saying, ‘Oh, everybody be gay.’” She added, “We have straight kids who are in the show and beautiful young people [who] haven’t told us what their sexuality is, and it’s none of our business. They all want to have a fun day.” Parents and others who have complained about the drag program are “kind of still in the Dark Ages.”
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) defines a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) as a “student-run club, typically in a high school or middle school, which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia.” In addition, according to ASCA, some GSAs try to influence their surrounding communities about sexual orientation and gender identity, organize a “Pride Week” and bring in outside speakers, and organize indoctrination of teachers on LGBTQ issues.
School superintendent Jane Ann Harbert said she wants the school to be a “safe space,” stating that some parents may not support a homosexual lifestyle or cross-dressing for their children. She told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Many of our children come from homes or cultures that may not be as supportive, and we want to make sure our school is a safe place for these students.”
According to The College Fix, there remain many religious families in Lansdowne who have taken their children out of Penn Wood High School to enroll them in Christian or parochial schools.