A Colorado mother is defending her decision to allow her 8-year-old son to immerse himself in the world of drag, saying that drag is “therapeutic” for her gender-confused child.
Mill Blackburn was just 2 years old when he announced that he was “a drag queen” after watching an episode of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The “reality” television show documents celebrity drag queen RuPaul’s search for “America’s next drag superstar.”
Over the years, Mill’s mother Manige encouraged her son to wear both male and female clothes while playing dress up. And in August 2019 she took Mill and her 12-year-old daughter Teya to Denver’s Dragutante—a festival that celebrates drag culture and seeks to connect youth with “drag mentors.”
It was there that Manige permitted Mill to sign up for his first public drag performance, giving him the stage name “Salt Qween.”
“It pretty much started from there. Mill became part of Denver’s drag community instantly,” Manige said.
Mill now regularly participates in local drag shows and a few months ago told his mother that he is non-binary—identifying as neither male nor female.
“[Mill] said, ‘I don’t know if I’m a he, a she or a they,’” Manige said.
Instead of addressing her child’s gender concerns, she began using the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ in reference to her son.
“I just told them that’s fine and to let me know once they’ve figured it out and I know they will—because of their drag family.
“To me, drag is like protective armor. It protects children as they explore their gender,” she added. “I honestly classify it as mental health care for Mill. The big purple wigs, the makeup and the new name—it’s all so cathartic.”
Manige may call it “cathartic,” but United Families International calls it something else—child abuse.
“Increased risk of sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, drug abuse and body dysmorphia consistently follow children that are exposed to, and exhibit, sexual behaviors at a young age. Yet the precedent is being set; children that do not conform to traditional lifestyles, gender identities and families are encouraged and praised as they flaunt their tiny bodies and pretend to possess a sexual maturity far beyond their years.”
UFI further stated: “While the parents claim their children enjoy this, that it makes them happy, no five-year-old learns to contour and wear wigs without significant parental involvement; they have taken advantage of their boys’ trusting, childlike nature and groomed them for the sake of a dangerous agenda. It is wrong, and it must be stopped.”
Above: Eight-year-old Mill Blackburn (aka Salt Qween) dressed in drag.
Photo: PA Real Life