Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down under Blair Macbeth (also known as Spankie Jackzon) has spoken out about the controversy surrounding Drag Queen Storytime events, offering his views on the issue.
Speaking to Seven Sharp, Blair addressed one of the key criticisms of Drag Queen Storytime, stating that "it's a costume, and that's what I think we need to strip all this back to.”
“You were quite happy to take your child to go and see Santa at the mall and set them on the lap of some old gentleman who you have no idea who it is,” he said.
“You don't have an issue with that, but you suddenly have an issue with somebody in a costume reading your child or book. And that's where the disconnect comes."
There have been protests in the United States, Australia and now in New Zealand against the events which see drag artists reading books to children, in specifically designed events.
Demonstrators have arrived, often calling the performers "groomers", and accusing them of sexualising young children.
Blair also spoke about the impact that the controversy has had on his own life, recounting an incident in which he was featured in a magazine while employed at a childcare centre in Palmerston North.
"Like I was on the centerfold of one of the magazines that went to the schools,” he said.
“They had no idea until that point, then of course they turn up at work and were like, ‘excuse me?’”
However, Blair said he didn't need to worry, as both his employer and the parents embraced his work as a drag artist.
Blair started drag at age 14, and it was at a now closed gay bar in Palmerston North where his drag alter ego Spankie was born.
“It’s closed down now unfortunately, and they asked me to do their birthday it started from there,” he said.
“I know I was underage, but it’s closed now.”
Since winning RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under last year, Blair says things have been “wild”.
“I never expected it to happen - everything that's happened has been crazy."
Since winning, Blair went and took his crown from the show (albeit a temporary one) and gave it to the childcare centre he used to work at.
“I took a big photo of me wearing the crown, and we put it on the wall for the birthdays.”
“So it's so in some way they get to kind of get to be queen.”