Boise Pride Fest says it’s postponing its children’s drag show due to “safety concerns.”
Pride organizers say the decision was “very difficult.”
“While the vast majority of our sponsors and supporters have voiced their support for the Boise Pride Festival and the Drag Kids program, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone this performance due to increased safety concerns. The health and well-being of the kids, their parents, and the attendees of the Festival are our priority.”
The event was scheduled to include a drag show with children from the ages of 11-18.
The City of Boise is hosting a festival featuring child drag queens as young as 11 years old. Sponsored by Citibank, Wells Fargo, Target, and Hewlett-Packard. pic.twitter.com/LgGdjgrxBU
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 6, 2022
There was considerable outrage amongst the public after learning about the children’s drag show.
A drag show for kids, an event at the Boise Pride festival, has sparked backlash from the Republican party and far-right groups calling it inappropriate — but, children expressing themselves and their identities is empowering and builds confidence, says Boise Pride.
The drag show for kids, which is separate from the other drag performances, is scheduled to take place on Sunday at the Boise Pride Festival. The attention surrounding the event began on social media with far-right groups calling to protest the event. One post included a picture of a gun saying “Can’t expect God to do all the work” with a message to others: “Sunday, 9/11/2022, time to start at the Fred Meyer pride parade.”
Idahoans will make it very hard for anyone trying to exploit children. It will not go unchecked in our state. Congratulations to all those who are engaged in this righteous battle against evil. #idpolhttps://t.co/xlh9ulebyh
— Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) September 8, 2022
Several sponsors withdrew their support upon learning about the children’s drag show originally scheduled for the event.
Zions Bank has pulled out of Boise Pride Fest this weekend. https://t.co/YO9xAuqoGo
— Danielle Allsop (@daniallsop) September 7, 2022
— Inside The Classroom (@EITC_Official) September 8, 2022
CBS 2 reported:
The move comes after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare wrote in a letter that it’s no longer sponsoring this year’s Boise Pride Fest.
In a letter, director Dave Jeppesen wrote to Pride director Donald Williamson that the Department of Health and Welfare, Project Filter, Idaho HITV, and the STD and Hepatitis Prevention and Care Program would no longer participate.
Jeppesen says the state made a move to avoid confusion.
“DHW’s sponsorship of Boise Pride 2022 has led to some confusion about whether DHW endorses specific event activities involving minors during this event,” he said. “To avoid any confusion regarding DHW’s support of such activities, DHW is withdrawing both of its orange level sponsorships and Project Filter will no longer be supporting a booth at the event this weekend.”
Also on Thursday, Idaho Power said it too was no longer participating or sponsoring the event.
“Due to programming changes that occurred after our sponsorship and concerns for the safety of our employees and volunteers, we have withdrawn our participation in the Boise Pride event,” Idaho Power told CBS2. “We will continue to support our diverse communities.”
Idaho Power joins Zions Bank, which also withdrew from this year’s event after Idaho Republican Party chairwoman Dorothy Moon criticized pride organizers for hosting a children’s drag show on Sunday.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean (D) released a statement late Thursday.
“I appreciate the actions the Boise Pride Festival is taking to protect everyone who will join in their celebration this weekend. I applaud their continued focus on providing a positive, inclusive, community-based event where our LGBTQIA+ friends, neighbors, and family members can come together in celebration and community.”
“Boise is always at its best when we come together, stand shoulder to shoulder with one another. That’s what it takes to be a city for everyone. The inflammatory rhetoric of the past few days has put a spotlight on the critical need for our community to have a conversation about standing together in times like these to encourage, embrace, and support the diversity and dignity of all people. I hope to see many of you at the festival this weekend.”