Kids are indeed the future and so they're also the site of great moral panic. As more kids are skipping the closet, debate rages on about what is appropriate to "expose" young people to—which also raises the question of what is appropriate to acknowledge as already existing in young people's experiences. And because it is easier to recognize the specificity of queer sexuality, sociality, and familial forms in the face of unmarked mainstream culture—where hetero love stories provide the narrative framing for most cultural products—youth and non-normative sexuality are a fascinating and revealing combination. (Maybe my next post will be on why the Disney Princesses have made the "PC" leap to include a princess of color but won't be advertising a lesbian princess any time soon?) So in this series, I want to ask: How have discourses of sexuality and gender been transformed in the context of youth? Who gets to speak for kids? Where do young people receive their most influential messages about the values around sex, sexuality, and gender, and their proper performance?
Whenever someone starts talking about "crip-drag" - the slang term that basically means "currently non-disabled actor playing a disabled character" - the conversation tends to eventually (usually sooner, rather than later) turn to this:
But but but! We shouldn't accept a less-than-stellar actor just because they're disabled. That's, like, Affirmative Action GONE MAD!!!!!! No, you just have to accept that they always, totally, without fail, and without any influence by ablism or assumptions about what stories they can tell about disabilities, the casting directors chose the best person for the job. And it's just a wild coincidence that the best person for the job is almost always someone who doesn't have a disability.