Who Would Do This to an 8-Year-Old Boy?
On Friday, the global fashion magazine Elle published a video featuring an 8-year-old boy named Nemis dressing up as a drag queen named Lactatia.
“I’ve been wearing my sister’s tutu since I was like threes and fours, even like twos, and I’ve been dancing around in my little pink dresses and stuff, so yeah I think I’ve had Lactatia inside me since I was born, that’s why I love that song ‘Born This Way,'” Nemis said in the video.
The boy took on the idea that children (at age 8!) should not even know what a “drag queen” is. “I know people would like go up to their parents and tell them that they want to be a drag queen, and then their parents would be like, ‘You shouldn’t even know what that is.'”
“I don’t think that that should be a thing, I don’t think that other people should judge what people do,” Nemis said. Parents shouldn’t judge their children or have a say in what they know or do?
The boy said he looks up to drag queens. “I love them because they do what they want to do and they’re not afraid to do it,” Nemis said. “My friends at school think Lactatia’s very courageous. She’s really good at dancing, they also think that she’s really good at playing video games and stuff like that.”
His mother, Jessica, backed up the story of his early cross-dressing. “When he was about two, he came to me with Mr. Potato Head earrings, and asked me to put makeup on him,” the mother recalled. “So we did a little like drag photoshoot, and he duck faced, and he was sweet! And every time he wanted makeup, I just put some on him.”
The boy’s mother described the whole experience as “overwhelming — you feel overwhelmed by pride that your child is expressing themselves, and showing the world, and it’s being so well received, and she’s pretty good at what she does.”
Yes, the mother referred to her son as “she.” This gender confusion ran through Nemis’s own view of himself. While he identified as a “diva” over and over again, he seemed unclear as to whether or not a man can be a “diva.”
“Lactatia is a diva,” the boy explained. “A diva can be a drag queen, a diva can just be a woman, a diva can be a man — but I wouldn’t really call a man a diva, I would call a man a div-ler.”
Twirling in a red dress, makeup, and a blonde wig, “Lactatia” showed off on camera. “I like dancing and I like performing, and I love — not just like, love — dressing up,” the boy said. “It makes me feel very happy, like I am accepted.”
His mother explained why she encourages the behavior: “We just want our kids to express themselves however they see fit, as long as it’s respectful and they’re nice people. We really don’t care.”
This past July, after performing in Montreal, Canada, Nemis said something rather disrespectful. “If you want to be a drag queen and your parents don’t let you, you need new parents,” the boy declared. Do statements like these make his mother “proud?”
In the Elle video, Nemis said he hoped he would always be a drag queen. “A lot of people ask me if I’m going to be a drag queen forever, and it’s always the same answer: Probably,” the boy said. “I hope I’m still gonna be a drag queen. If I’m not, that’s totally fine, but I really hope I keep my Lactatia inside of me for the rest of my life.”
Nemis is an 8-year-old boy with the gumption to say that if parents don’t support their children dressing up as drag queens, those children “need new parents.” Nemis is an 8-year-old boy who looks up to drag queens, identifies as a “diva,” and has trouble with the idea of men as “divas.” Nemis is an 8-year-old boy whose mother is “proud” he dresses up like a drag queen.
But his story is not an isolated incident. Last month, Teen Vogue caused a stir by posting a how-to article on anal sex. Parents have protested “graphic” sex ed classes for their kids. Bill Nye’s Netflix show featured a segment encouraging all sorts of sexual deviance. Oregon has an official sex guide for teens, written by teens. Last December, National Geographic put a nine-year-old transgender girl on the cover of a magazine marketed to children.
In June, children as young as 5 years old were exposed to the sexual gyrations of a drag queen at a grade school talent show. Oh, and a Bloomington, Indiana, library hosted an event last month where drag queens read to children between the ages of 2 and 6.
Nemis is one boy, but the normalization of LGBT attitudes among young children does not begin or end with him.