At left, Zaide Manzano (stage name: Dela Rosa) joins two other drag queen performers for a photo with a child at a recent “all-ages” drag show in Anchorage.

Two of Alaska’s most prominent drag queens recently took to public radio to air their open contempt for Christians, Evangelicals, Republicans and parental rights advocates.

Clearly intended to sway public opinion in support of drag performances for young children, the April 17th “Hometown Alaska” show interviews cast drag queens as wholesome, prominent and respected leaders in the LGBTQ movement.

The show featured Anchorage drag queens Robin O’Donoghue (stage name: Lamia Lexicon Monroe) and Zaide Manzano (stage name: Dela Rosa).

O’Donoghue is a biological male who regularly takes to the stage wearing thong-exposing lingerie and fake boobs for adult performances in Anchorage’s gay bar scene. Manzano, a biological female who claims to be nonbinary, doubles as a mainstay dancer for toddlers and young children at Anchorage’s Cafecito Bonito, while also performing risqué dances before gay bar patrons.

Manzano told interviewer O’Hara Shipe that drag is the “expression of artistic gender,” and that “there is so much you can do in that medium.”

For her part, Manzano uses drag to aggressively advance the LGBTQ agenda, which includes influencing impressionable minds that are not yet made up.

Drag queens have become increasingly controversial in Alaska and across the nation, with critics documenting multiple instances of heavily-makeupped and scantily-clad performers prancing in front of young children wearing nothing more than sexy evening attire.

Manzano dismissed such critics, alleging that they aren’t really against drag so much as queer people in general. She claimed that conservatives simply “hide” behind the idea of protecting kids, while actually intending to undermine the LGBTQ community by decrying drag queens.

“Ultimately we are the easier target,” she said.

O’Donoghue agreed, and said that performing drag doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a pedophile.

“I got into drag because I wanted to look pretty and dance around like Lady Gaga,” he said, adding that some drag performances are “appropriate” for kids – some are not.

O’Donoghue said people “exaggerate potential harm” of all-ages drag performers, but that ultimately, he believes drag activists have “already won” the hearts and minds of most people. He then proceeded to blast “evangelical, Christian, Republicans who are angered by this and seeking to oppress marginalized groups, seeking to turn the tide against that progressive and positive movement.”

“The bigotry and transphobia is coded under things like targeting drag queens or the term ‘parental rights,’” O’Donoghue complained.

Interviewer Shipe asked for tips on how she and others might help promote the LGBTQ agenda in general.

“How do we get involved?” she asked.

O’Donoghue urged allies to elect LGBTQ candidates, engage in politics and push back on the narrative that drag queens are pedophiles. His hope is that people will begin to accept drag queens as “regular people,” rather than merely sexy late-night dancers.

He also called for boycotts on businesses, politicians and any other groups who don’t fully support the LGBTQ agenda.

These performances, she said, are often “a kids first time getting exposure to – it’s so wholesome.”

Following the drag interviews, Shipe spoke with the co-owners of Arciniega Street Productions, an Anchorage entertainment company that enlists local drag queens to perform before young children.

Kendra Arciniega said she and co-owner Mercedes Arciniega founded their company to promote LGBTQ entertainment across all ages – including children.

“There should be opportunities for queer youth,” Kendra said, while lamenting the fact that most “queer culture” is limited to gay bars where children are not allowed.

“We wanted an opportunity to bridge that gap,” she said. “We decided to do an all ages drag show.”

Mercedes agreed, saying kid drag shows are “a whole, full experience of absolute joy.”

Interviewer Shipe chimed in saying she has attended a local all-ages drag show and found it to be “an incredibly joyful experience.” She then blasted what she called “all these anti-LGBT bills that are going through the senate in multiple states, our state included.”

Mercedes acknowledged that certain people’s minds can’t be changed, but that kid-centered drag shows can be an opening for some.

Shipe asked the Arciniegas to address their critics who have expressed serious reservations about the appropriateness of drag shows targeting children. She asked whether they are ever forced to rebut claims that these events are intended to groom and sexualize youth.

“We know we are on some people’s radar, and I think we have to operate, knowing that perception is happening, and we can’t be naïve,” Mercedes said. “So, we do stay aware.”

The Alaska Watchman has published multiple reports about the all-ages drag shows in Anchorage, including photos of performers exposing thongs and undergarments to children.

Without naming the media outlet, Kendra said there is “a local blogger who is not the biggest fan of the queer community in general.”

“It just gets our hackles up a little,” she said, while claiming that any negative news coverage simply foments hate. Kendra said that her company is very careful not to “feed the trolls,” or “give them the attention that we know they are hungry for.”

Mercedes acknowledged that certain people’s minds can’t be changed, but that kid-centered drag shows can be an opening for some.

She then attempted to distinguish between child-oriented drag and performances geared to adults.

Mercedes said youth drag shows frequently feature the singing of Disney movie songs, such as “Let it Go” from the movie, Frozen. These performances, she said, are often “a kids first time getting exposure to – it’s so wholesome.”

While asserting that all-ages drag shows are “not centered around sexuality,” Mercedes avoided describing the sexually suggestive dress performers wear as they dance in front of children.

“It’s not all centered around sexuality,” she said flatly.

Kendra concluded the interview by calling on LGBTQ activists to confront friends and family who might express what LGBTQ activists deem to be “transphobic or homophobic” ideas or sayings. She said people need to be a “voice of dissent.”

“What you permit, you promote,” she emphasized.

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Alaska drag queen ringleaders smear Christians and conservatives who criticize drag for kids

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.