Drag Queen Show Featuring People With Down Syndrome Shocks Internet: ‘What’s The Target Audience?’

A video of a drag queen troupe with a cast of people with Down syndrome shocked social media users this week, who called the concept “unethical” and exploitative of “vulnerable” people.

Digital media company Mashable posted a video on Twitter on Wednesday documenting this Down Syndrome drag squad dubbed “Drag Syndrome.”

Mashable’s caption for the clip read, “Meet the artists and performers from Drag Syndrome, the world’s first drag troupe for people with Down syndrome.” The site almost seemed to mock the concept, captioning the mini-documentary “Born To Dance With An Extra Chromosome”.

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A digital mashable story about Down Syndrome drag queens caused a stir on Twitter this week.

A digital mashable story about Down Syndrome drag queens caused a stir on Twitter this week.
(Screenshot/Twitter)

The video began with a montage of several people with Down syndrome putting on clothes and makeup to become their drag queen alter egos, while a rendition of Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade” played in the background.

These Down Syndrome drag queens were then shown dancing awkwardly on stage while the audience screamed in flattery. A voiceover followed with the artists’ motivations for being in drag. Declaring her “favorite thing in drag,” one drag queen declared, “I was born to dance.”

The documentary featured short interviews with several of the drag queens, including Justin Bond, Horror Shebang and Lady Francesca, which expressed how much drag and dancing means to them.

There was also a brief meeting with the show’s creative director, David Vais, a man without Down Syndrome, who said, “Sometimes drag is an idea you want to communicate.” He described his artists as “pretty incredible artists” and mentioned the diversity of their performances.

He said: “There’s drag, we do ballet, we do theatre. We do different art forms.”

Obviously in love with his craft and his drag queens, Vais added, “Drag is taking over the world anyway. Even people with learning difficulties or Down syndrome have a lot to say and a lot of talent. So if [audience members] Come and see it and experience it – it’s good for you.

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A national tour performance of "A Drag Queen Christmas" at the Broward Center of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on December 26, 2022. (still image/"Fox & friends first")

A performance of the nationwide tour of “A Drag Queen Christmas” at the Broward Center of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 26, 2022. (Caption / “Fox & Friends First”)
(Instagram/@MPPRÄSENT)

Although social media users weren’t so convinced, watching innocent people with Down syndrome perform in drag was “good for them” and not good for the performers either.

Reporter Tatjana Pasalic asked the relevant question: “Who exactly is the target group for this?”

Daily Wire investigative reporter Mairead Elordi summed up the whole gimmick, tweeting: “Exploiting vulnerable people for wake points.”

Journalist Olivia Rondeau harshly condemned those promoting this show. She wrote, “2023 Libs want every person with Down Syndrome to either have an abortion or become a drag queen.”

Substack.com journalist Graham Linehan claimed that the Down Syndrome drag queens “are being manipulated and abused.”

Author and autism researcher Tania Marshall also asked who this form of entertainment appeals to. “Who are they targeting now?” She wondered.

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Conservative lawyer and defense attorney Marina Medvin tweeted: “This is unethical and this is evil. Using and humiliating helpless people with Down Syndrome for entertainment or political influence is depraved.”

Townhall.com web editor Rebecca Downs responded to Medvin by saying, “This is appalling.”

Drag Queen Just JP reads stories to children during a Drag Story Hour at the Chelsea Public Library in Chelsea, MA on June 25, 2022.

Drag Queen Just JP reads stories to children during a Drag Story Hour at the Chelsea Public Library in Chelsea, MA on June 25, 2022.
(Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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