Courtney Act eloquently hits back after senator suggests she’s ‘grooming’ children

A screengrab from Australian chat show The Project showing drag queen Courtney Act

Courtney Act has hit back at South Australian senator Alex Antic over claims that her appearance on the ABC show Play School was “grooming”.

During the show, Act read an excerpt from the book The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick, which is the story of a young girl who discovers that she loves wearing pants.

Speaking to ABC managing director David Anderson during Senate estimates (hearings), Senator Antic asked: “The program was rated G and has been heavily promoted on TV and on the app.

“Why is the ABC grooming children with this sort of adult content?”

Courtney Act – who appeared on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race and won the 21st season of Big Brother in 2019 – has since retweeted a video of her retaliation on Australian chat show The Project, with the caption: “Showing queer kids straight content won’t turn them straight.

“Showing straight kids queer content won’t turn them queer. Your queer kids will be queer regardless of whether you show them examples. It just depends on how much shame you want them to carry into their lives.”

While on The Project, Act doubled down on her rebuttal and said that it was a “shocking” accusation.

“I was really taken aback that I would be accused of such a thing because grooming is really serious,” she said.

“Grooming is the act of an abuser manipulating a child so that they can sexually abuse them. It’s a really serious thing, and to use terms of abuse when no abuse is actually happening, really takes away from the occasions when it is happening,” she continued

“I’m on television, reading a children’s book, there was nothing untoward about it. It was really quite a shocking thing to be accused of.”

She also pointed out that Antic’s comments probably related to her career as a drag queen, rather than the content of the story that she read.

“We’ve all agreed that women can wear pants, so it felt like a very peculiar thing for him to zoom in on. I think it was probably more to do with the fact that it was me reading the book.”

“The term grooming was used because somebody like Senator Antic might see my identity as sexualised. The thing that makes me different from him is my sex life or who I have sex with. And because I’m attracted to men, and I’m a male person who’s attracted to men, that sort of reduces my whole identity just down to who I have sex with. Obviously, I’m much more than just that.”

“Kids just see colour, sparkles and fun. They’re not sexualising me. That’s something the adults do,” said Act who added: “I think maybe what those detractors are trying to say is, we’re scared of trans people, or we don’t want our kids to be trans.”

During Antic’s original question to ABC managing director, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: “Grooming is a really serious matter, it’s not for being played with by Conservative senators to make headlines.”