Drag Queen Courtney Act will be on the ABC interviewing people on One Plus One from next week – in prime time, on the national broadcaster’s top-rating night, Monday.
But it is another show starring Act that upset Lyle Shelton, now a campaigner for the Christian Democratic Party. “Courtney Act, whose real name is Shane Jenek, took part in Little Kids, Big Talk, a social media video series produced by [ABC],” News.com.au reports.
“The latest episode featuring six children interviewing the RuPaul’s Drag Race star has been viewed more than 770,000 times since being posted to the ABC Kids Community Facebook page on Friday.”
In the short video, children interview Courtney Act who describes dressing sometimes as female and other times as male. “The cool thing about drag is that it expresses what you feel.”
Lyle Shelton complained about a link on the show’s site to Courtney Act’s Facebook page. The ABC removed the link. But Shelton sent out a press release stating: “Despite the ABC cutting the link to his Facebook page, Jenek doubled down overnight, posting the children’s video to his Facebook page alongside his picture gallery of age-inappropriate and gender fluid content.”
However, Shelton told Eternity that his original protest had been successful. “As far as I can tell, it was my blog and social media exposing the link. Unless there was some sort of coincidence but I doubt it.”
Eternity asked Shelton if his protest was about trangenderism or a protest about unsuitable explicit material. (Courtney Act identifies as pansexual and gender fluid)
“Exposing children to sexual or sexualised content, as the ABC did by placing it one click away from little children, is always wrong,” replied Shelton.
“On the transgender issue, indoctrinating children into gender fluid ideology is also wrong and I will always object to this. ”
Shelton links a trend to positive media representation of transgender persons (similar to Courtney Act’s video) to the increase in young people experiencing gender dysphoria.
This incident possibly sums up where conservative Christians find themselves in the culture. Firstly, a broad shift has occurred in wider society’s attitude to sexual minorities. Secondly, wider society is still cautious when it comes to the issue of what children can see, and the communication of explicit material in general. Arguably, it has become more cautious in the high-profile light of sex abuse cases, and aspects of the campaign for consent.
The first means that Courtney Act fronts a prime-time show on the ABC – and freedom of speech has clearly been extended to more and more voices. But secondly, social mores around children remain strong, and protest against a hyper-sexualised culture can gain traction.