Converse has enlisted 11-year-old “drag kid” Desmond Napoles to be one of six LGBT spokesmen for its latest rainbow-arrayed high-top sneakers for June’s “Pride Month.”
Desmond, who goes by the moniker “Desmond Is Amazing,” was featured in several news stories last December that argued he was being exploited by getting paid to dance in a gay nightclub in New York City.
Yet on its promotional website for the new shoe collection, Converse showcases a photo of all six LGBT representatives sporting sneakers, and down in front is young Desmond, posing suggestively in a shoulder-baring outfit and wearing heavy makeup.
Even some LGBT supporters were outraged with this new campaign. Said one person on Twitter, “It’s really painful trying to advocate for LGBT positivity when you see ACTUAL child sexualization lumped into it like a tumor. Whatever clueless executive signed off on this should be ashamed.”
On its website, Converse, which is owned by Nike, said, “Converse is committed to supporting movements for positive social change and amplifying youth voices as they spark progress to build the future they believe in.”
“Social change” or “progress” should not be made by exploiting children in order to celebrate and advance forms of sexual expression that deny and degrade the beauty of the sexual complementariness that exists by God having created us male and female.
Converse began its “Pride” sneaker collection in 2014. Proceeds from this merchandise go to support LGBT charities It Gets Better Project and Out MetroWest as well as a Boston-based medical organization called Fenway Health that specializes in helping those with same-sex attractions and HIV/AIDS research.
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