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Published On: Sun, Apr 28th, 2019

Ohio introduces bill to stop ‘sexualization of children in drag shows after outcry to Jacob Measley, ‘Miss Mae Hem’

In Toledo a 9-year-old performed at a Lancaster bar in drag, prompting a debate over the expanding the definition of child endangerment.

Now Republican state Rep. Tim Schaffer introduced House Bill 180 amending Ohio’s child endangerment statute to include involving minors in any material or performance that “suggests a minor is participating or engaging in sexual activity, masturbation, or bestiality.”

Adults violating the law could face fines starting at $1,000 and six months in prison.

The business could lose its liquor license and the parent could face misdemeanor criminal charges, if the bill becomes law.

“Given our heightened focus on human trafficking and the role money plays in trafficking children, I knew I had to take action to make sure this activity does not occur again,” Schaffer said. “We can do better to protect innocent children and we must do better.”

Jacob Measley has been performing as Miss Mae Hem for several months, according to The (Toledo) Blade. Measley performs cartwheels, high kicks, splits and dancing in costume. He got interested in drag queens while watching RuPaul’s reality TV show Drag Race, with his mom, Jerri Measley.

Jacob Measley aka Miss Mae Hem at the Toledo gay pride parade photo/ Facebook

In the 2018 Blade article, Jacob is described as a typical 9-year-old: “…ready to start fourth grade. He’s tried his hand at baseball, gymnastics, theater, and dance. He’s also the textbook middle child, always seeking attention and the spotlight.”

“He’s in an unusual situation in that he’s surrounded by people who are supportive. Ninety-five percent of our friends are in the LGBTQ community and are drag queens, and are in some type of theater performance. He doesn’t experience [bullying] the way a lot of kids may be who want to do things like this have,” his mother said. “But it’s still a concern when it comes to being presented to a larger and more diverse audience, because he’s not been exposed to people who would treat him poorly.”

The article notes that “For his 8th birthday, drag queens from around Toledo came and helped Miss Mae Hem with her first public performance. That also included a special phone call and the chance for a larger audience.”

“It was really special,” Jake said. “I did my first performance in front of everyone there. Then Justyce Sinclaire called and asked if I wanted to be in Pride with her, and I was like, ‘Yes!’ It was so much fun, it was so cool.”

That post is void of the word gender, transgender or gender dysphoria.

Video of a Dec. 1, 2018 performance at JD Hendersons bar in Lancaster led to complaints and an investigation by Lancaster police and state agencies, said Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler. No law violations were found, he said.

After the investigations ended, a “social media outbreak” occurred when a website purporting to be the city of Lancaster made it sound like it was an ongoing issue, Scheffler said. “It was all dead, gone, over. Investigation found no violations. Then someone anonymously on this site posted inaccurate information.”

The mayor noted “It got pretty nasty.”

Jerri Measley says her son’s shows have been “grossly warped,” explaining that she doesn’t let Jacob use sexual songs and that his dance moves were learned from gymnastics and dance classes.

She went on to say, “I think on its face [the bill] sounds good, but the intent and where the proposal came from was done in bad faith. There is nothing wrong with what [he] is doing. Nothing sexual, nothing inappropriate.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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