Drag festival drops kids' event as sponsors pull out

(Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)
(Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)

Multiple key sponsors have pulled their support from a “Pride” festival in Boise, Idaho, after discovering it would feature a drag kids celebration, and that event now has been canceled as a result.

In a social media statement, Zions Bank said it has supported “Pride” events “because they are an important part of our support for our LGBTQ employees and allies and are representative of our efforts to foster an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace and community.”

But the bank continued, “However, when we committed to our sponsorship of this year’s Boise Pride event, we were unaware of the event’s activities involving children/minors. Since learning of these specific activities, we have made the decision to withdraw our participation in this year’s Boise Price event and have communicated this to the event organizers.”

The move is part of what is developing in reaction to the apparent grooming of children at various LGBT events, festivals and programs across the United States. Just days earlier, a school board in Florida refused to recognize an LGBT month for its students.

The loss of a key sponsor drew an immediate adjustment from Boise Pride, which announced within a day, “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…”

It blamed “safety concerns.”

The organization praised the kids as “brave” and “beautiful,” but said a “positive and safe environment” was a priority.

The statement, from Riley Burrows, “co-producer & host, Drag Kids,” said the kids “deserve to be showcased…”

The Washington Examiner explained a “protest” to the “children’s drag show” reportedly was scheduled.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said “inflammatory rhetoric” has spotlighted the need “for our community to have a conversation about standing together.”

The report said Idaho Power and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also withdrew as sponsors.

“Due to programming changes that occurred after our sponsorship and concerns for the safety of employees and volunteers, we have withdrawn our participation in the Boise Pride event. We will continue to support our diverse communities,” Idaho Power’s Brad Bowlin said in an interview with KIVI.

And DHW chief Dave Jeppesen said, in a letter, “DHW’s sponsorship of Boise Pride 2022 has led to some confusion about whether DHW endorses specific event activities involving minors during this event. 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.”

Idaho Republican Party chief Dorothy Moon had asked sponsors to pull out.

“Out-of-state companies promise to bring investment and jobs to Idaho. Instead, they are financing the sexualization of our children and the perverse idea that children should engage in sexual performances with adult entertainers,” Moon said, in the Examiner report.

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