OPINION: To Drag or not to Drag?

Julie Reeder

Temecula’s new culture war

There has been a lot of controversy lately surrounding drag queen events that have taken place at several locations in Temecula, including Old Town, to packed crowds. A cultural shift appears to include less of the theatrical gunfighters that have been an important part of the Western theme in Old Town and instead welcoming the drag queens. They really bring in the customers apparently. 

It is understandable how it has been hard for the more conservative residents to accept the change. They were already struggling with the sometimes too active alcohol-fueled nightlife downtown and now they are wondering if Old Town is offering “Adult Entertainment.”

I guess that depends on the actual definition of adult entertainment. Temecula has always been on the forefront of arts in the Valley, supporting entertainment, live theater, wineries, casinos, artists, etc. People who have moved from all over to raise their families in Temecula were drawn to the shiny new city, known for its safety. They loved the new schools, new parks, new shops, a new mall, new restaurants, and churches. Temecula leaders did an excellent job in the creation of the city, surviving the recession and the pandemic. Temecula continues to shine, so the drag queen shows were bound to follow. 

With all the controversy, I attended a drag queen event in Temecula to see for myself before having an opinion or reporting on it. This particular show was billed as entertaining and classy. Now I’m not a trained entertainment critic, but the show I attended wasn’t what I would consider classy, except maybe one drag queen. The part of the show I actually enjoyed the most was the restaurant owner who is a fabulous singer and dancer–fully dressed. I would definitely return for his live shows.

Rather than classy, the rest of the show seemed more raunchy to me. I think that’s what conservative people object to.

 It’s not the theatrical, but the raunch. 

I was glad it was a 21 and up show. Apparently it hasn’t always been. The drag queens lip-synced and did exotic dancing, interacting with the audience. It included suggestive positions and touching, including when one of them tried to pry my legs apart and put his face in my crotch. I wasn’t the first, or the last, so it wasn’t surprising. After all, I was there for the experience, so I got what I asked for. It was just a part of the show. But again, is that “classy”? Or is it “adult entertainment?” 

That’s above my pay grade. I wondered if it was supported by city leadership. Except of course city councilwoman Jessica Alexander, who was berated during the show by one drag queen and made the brunt of jokes. After all, if you don’t completely and enthusiastically accept and support the whole drag queen or transgender scene, it’s politically correct and culturally and morally superior to be openly berated and publicly bullied on social media. 

The issue conservatives have is that our culture continually tries to normalize and sexualize more and more, and then wants to include other people’s children. 

Again, I think what is most objectionable is not the theatrical, but the raunch. 

Consider the Grammy Awards this year. They featured Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion crawling all over each other on the floor performing ‘WAP’, (lyrics not fit for a community paper), and it was definitely raunchy. And it’s not unusual for our young people to be familiar with that and see music videos like that everyday that include suggestive dancing and singing. It’s normalized behavior, so what’s the big deal if a man, dressed as a woman tries to put his face in my crotch during dinner? 

And the real issue and concern is that parents are having to fight against culture, schools, and the government to keep their kids from being exposed and normalized to raunchy behavior.

People didn’t care as much when it was in that other town, but when the raunch lifestyle tries to influence your kids, then parents are going to start reacting. And that is normal.

When everything is so sexualized and it’s normalized, then we wonder why there’s an epidemic of young people hooked on porn, gender confused, depressed, anxiety ridden, then transitioning and cutting off perfectly healthy body parts and later, trying to detransition because they realized they made a mistake at 12 or 14 years old when they were not old enough to make those decisions.

Times are definitely changing and Temecula seems to be on the forefront in Southwest Riverside County.

Remember…“however you want to live your life is your business, what you do behind closed doors is your business, just please don’t push it on me or my kids.” Yet today we have to contend with PBS Children’s Drag Queen Story Hour and if you don’t fully and enthusiastically support a biological man competing with your young girl in sports, you are ridiculed. We can’t even be scientifically and biologically truthful in our free speech without being ridiculed and insulted. Then our state government passes laws removing parent’s rights and allowing surgeons to perform permanent life-changing surgeries on our kids. This is why people are concerned and a little angry.

I’m definitely not the target audience for these shows. It’s not really that funny or entertaining to me to watch men dressed as women dancing around and being sexually provocative with the audience and collecting dollar bills with raunchy humor talking about farting on their privates, which were taped back between their legs. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea or what I want to experience during dinner, or brunch for that matter.