When Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) accused Republicans of manufacturing “fake issues,” several Republicans apparently took that as serious advice.
During a press conference on Thursday, Michigan state House Reps. Beau LaFave (R), Andrew Fink (R), Greg Markkanen (R), Steve Carra (R), Ryan Berman (R) and Luke Meerman (R) unveiled a bill that would ban K-12 public schools from doing anything that would “expose” students to “a drag show or drag presentation.”
Under the legislation, parents would be allowed to sue school districts for up to $10,000 in damages.
GOP Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, a supporter of the legislation, claimed during the press conference that the bill was an earnest solution to a joke Nessel made several weeks ago proposing “a drag queen for every school” as she slammed Republicans for coming up with “fake issues.”
Because what if the attorney general, the first gay person in Michigan to be elected to statewide office, wasn’t kidding about making every school have its own in-house drag queen? What if Nessel really does want to expose kids to the horrors of men in wigs and sparkly dresses?
“She said she was joking, but we take this as a trial balloon,” Dixon declared. “We’re here to fight that culture war.”
But the stunt did little to refute Nessel’s point about Republicans contriving outrage over nothing; the bill’s sponsors admitted they couldn’t actually think of a time when schools put on drag shows.
“I don’t think that we need to have a problem occur in the state of Michigan before we address it,” LaFave argued.
The bill, while unlikely to actually go anywhere, is part of a now well-established pattern of conservatives going after “drag queen story hours” as part of broader push to not only manufacture outrage for voters but to also resurrect antiquated attacks against LGBTQ+ people that paint them as “groomers” and pedophiles.