Author David Clawson, an assistant professor of screenwriting in LMU School of Film and Television, explained that “sometimes you read a book because someone says don’t read it.” This, at least, is true for him, especially in light of the recent banning in several states of his novel “My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen.”
Books dealing with topics such as LGBTQ+ inclusion, sex, sexuality, transgender characters, realistic fiction, romance, young adult, and social justice are all up for debate. In many states including Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas, books like “My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen” have been going through the book removal process in school libraries and communities.
The process involves appeals to each state’s legislature for books that allegedly do not appeal to the community’s ideals and perspectives. Appeals come from parents, school administrators and board members, religious community members, librarians, teachers, students, and elected officials. In 2021 alone, there were 729 books challenged nationally. Clawson believes that the term “Drag Queen” in the title is what has drawn attention to his novel. However, within the book, characters only appear in drag three times. Initially the title of the book was “Himderella,” a play on words since “My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen” is a retelling of the classic “Cinderella.” His editors encouraged him to change the title.
The book tells the story of a 17-year-old in high school in the middle of a family scheme, when he falls in love. The book grapples with themes of fitting in, first love, and understanding one’s identity. Clawson wrote the story to show a character “going through something that many feel like they are the only person going through.” As a screenwriter in the ’90s, Clawson only wrote and saw straight-themed screenplays. According to him, everything involving LGBTQ+ storylines or characters involved sleeping around, AIDS, or content that revolved around the character’s identity as gay. With “My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen,” Clawson simply wanted to put a joyful, gay story in the media.
While immense progress has been made in terms of representation in both screenplays and novels, controversial topics, characters, and storylines still face backlash and censorship. For Clawson, “everything comes down to fear.” Topics that are unfamiliar and foreign are often shut down out of fear, he said.
“My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen” is described as wholesome and uplifting by those who have read it, yet it is still included on lists described by parents as “obscene in nature.”
“My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen” is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your favorite bookseller.