“Drag” is the flamboyantly caricaturized performance of masculinity, femininity or other forms of gender expression and more often than not includes a song and dance. Drag has ALWAYS been a major aspect to LGBT culture because it facilitates self-expression and flies in the face of traditional gender norms. It is a liberating performance for many.
People insist that there is inherently a sexual aspect to drag, which is incorrect. Much like movies, there’s G, PG, PG-13, and R. The thing about the R-rated drag shows is that they are ALWAYS in age-restricted areas, like bars. Many drag shows are no more or less risque than your average pop choreography.
This year the Boise Pride Festival planned an age-appropriate kid-specific drag show to allow LGBT children to take part in this cultural performance and tradition. We were excited to pass on our LGBT cultural traditions to the next generation, who were excited to be a part of these traditions.
Boise’s mayor eloquently put what these events mean for us on page 5 of the Pride Guide:
The Misinformation Campaign
However, far-right wing extremists decided to purposefully twist and distort this event and its meaning on a national stage. It was garnering attention from sources like Breitbart and Daily Caller and there were multiple Christian-Nationalistic anti-LGBT protests that were planned.
Many believed that this was an R-rated drag show performed by adults for children. This was incorrect. Many believed that this was an R-rated drag show performed by children for adults. This was also incorrect. It was a PG drag show performed by children. These people weren’t interested in understanding queer culture, asking clarifying questions, or seeking understanding. They were simply interested in being outraged at something that wasn’t even happening. They were interested in demonizing people and culture they hate. Their intention was always bigotry, just as it always is.
On September 6th, Boise’s Mayor, Lauren McLean, came to the defense of the LGBT community and said:
However, there was another Idahoan politician whose voice that spoke louder, namely FAR-right Idaho Republican Chair and Representative Dorothy Moon who defended a convicted rapist. On September 7th, 2022 she issued this statement:
Moon essentially asked every conservative / fascist in America to cyber bully these companies into marginalizing an already marginalized group. Of course, the violent far-right wing terrorists began to threaten to commit a mass shooting on Sunday. 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.”
The Rainbow Capitalists
These threats of violence and threats to the business’s bottom line triggered a cascade of businesses pulling their sponsorships. These businesses should appropriately be labeled “Rainbow Capitalists”, because they were only supportive of queer folks when it was profitable for them. Once it no longer was profitable their allyship ended. Another term folks might be familiar with is “fair-weather friends“.
Next was the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, who also pulled both of their Orange Level sponsorships (“HIV STD and Hepatitis Prevention & Care” and “Project Filter: Idaho Fights Tobacco”) which revoked their their $36,000 sponsorship. They were cowardly enough to not announce it publicly themselves, but this is the letter that they sent the organizers:
Idaho Power pulled its $3,000 sponsorship as well, but has also not publicly announced this on any of their platforms.
In light of the threats and the financial support being taken away, the kids drag show was canceled.
Mayor McLean then issued this statement about the cancelation:
The Rainbow Capitalists didn’t stop fleeing just because the kids’ performance was cancelled. Idaho Central Credit Union pulled its Violet Level sponsorship of $1,500 after the performance was cancelled.
The fact of the matter is that there are LGBT children. LGBT folks have a culture that we want to share with the next generation which is age appropriate. The kids were going to get dressed up and do a song and dance that they had rehearsed.
However, the bigoted domestic terrorists REFUSE to accept the existence of LGBT folks, and have threatened death in order to prevent us from passing our culture on to the next generations.
Instead of defending marginalized groups, the corporate sponsors were more concerned about their reputation and bottom line and withdrew their support at the first hint of controversy. They are not true allies; they’re fair-weather allies.
The State of Idaho also failed to protect its LGBT children and sent a message that the bigots will win out in Idaho.
I find myself reading my post from a little under a year ago entitled The Boise Shooting, which involved a transwoman being murdered in a mass shooting. In this post, I gave the 3 options that Idahoan queers have to live with. I would like to repeat that entire section:
I feel so backed into a corner with all of this, and the way I see it is there are only 3 options:
- Continue living life as normal with the understanding that as a queer person I am significantly more likely to be murdered.
- Try to hide my queerness as best as I can and not go in public spaces to mitigate my chances of being targeted and murdered.
- Move to another state / country where the chances of me being murdered in general are significantly lower.
Unfortunately, I may have to take option 2 until option 3 is a possibility for me. I just pray that all of my family and friends stay safe if they take option 1 or 2.
I feel so helpless. I feel so vulnerable. I feel so hopeless. I wish the leaders of my community, state, and nation would take real action to help me feel safe in my own hometown.
People have told me that I don’t need to feel unsafe in Idaho, and that its not actually as bad as I make it out to be. That is why I have been keeping this page where I am documenting all of the things that make me feel unsafe in this state.
The fact of the matter is this: Boise is Unsafe for Queer Folks