A lobby group in Idaho is pushing to ban drag shows

A bill banning poverty demonstrations in all public places will be introduced in the first days of Idaho’s next legislative session in January. Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti told the Idaho Capital Sun.

Conzatti and other conservative activists around Idaho and throughout the country protested against events in public places that featured drag queens, including Drag Queen story hour events at public libraries. In September, Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon called on the public to pressure the corporate sponsors of Boys Pride. draw their names from sponsoring the event over plans to put on a “Drag Kids” show for ages 11 to 18, which was ultimately postponed due to safety concerns.

Conzatti said the bill is ready to be introduced once the session begins, but declined to share the text of the bill with the Sun and would not name the lawmakers who worked with him on it.

“No child should ever be exposed to sexual displays, such as drag shows, in a public place, whether it’s a public library or a public park,” she said.

Conzatti also cited a drag show in Coeur d’Alene in June as another example of public indecency, when a performer was accused of exposing himself during a Pride in the Park event. After complaints, local prosecutors found that the video had been edited to make it look like the performer had exposed himself, when he hadn’t. The singer has since filed a defamation lawsuit against North Idaho blogger Summer Bushnell, according to a report from Coeur d’Alene Press.

The group cites the Idaho Constitution as the basis for the law

The Idaho Family Policy Center, citing a section asking state lawmakers to ban drag shows in public, circulated a petition that cited Boys Pride. Idaho Constitution in which it is said that the primary concern of all good government is virtue and vigilance of people and cleanliness of households. It states that the legislature should “make every reasonable and well-directed effort to promote greater tolerance and morality.”

“There were a lot of Supreme Court decisions in the 19th century about public virtue and how sexual acts shouldn’t happen in public because it degrades public virtue,” Conzatti said.

According to Conzatti, drag is inherently a sexualized caricature of gender, which he compares to the racist acts of black people that were a common practice in theater until the last 50 years. He understood that this might be offensive to some.

“You emphasize certain natural features so much that it becomes a caricature of itself,” he said.

According to a newsletter from the Idaho Family Policy Center, more than 3,500 people signed the petition and more than 26,000 letters were sent to corporate sponsors of Boise Pride in a day and a half.

Longtime Performer: ‘Drag is an Art’

Boise resident Crispin Gravatt has performed drag for more than a decade under the stage name Penelope Windsor at all kinds of venues, including drag time at libraries and at Boise Pride in September.

“At its core, drag is art, and art can be powerful,” Gravatt said. “For many of us, it’s a way to be part of the community and do something fun and creative. For me and for my friends, it’s a kind of therapy, the same thing we see with veterans or survivors of abuse. It’s a way we can have fun and deal with some of the problems in the world that can sometimes be difficult for people like me.”

To Gravatt, drag is no different from Shakespeare’s original theater productions, when men play women on stage and women play men, or the way a clown acts. They said the misinformation about drag that is being spread is harmful because many people don’t know what drag really is and end up believing something that isn’t true.

“It’s a little insulting that these people think that people like me don’t know how to fit into our shoes,” they said. “In my experience in this community of acting, producing, going to shows and just celebrating who I am and who my community is, it’s amazing to see such a small group of people make it so far in what they’re trying to do. . do, because 99% of the people I meet across the state — they think it’s either a fun creative outlet or something that might not be for them, but it’s not a threat.”

The director of the Boise Pride hopes to see a comeback

Boise Pride Executive Director Donald Williamson also received thousands of protest letters in the days leading up to the event. He said he was aware of the bill and believed a ban of some kind would be a violation of free speech, despite Conzatti’s comments that if it were to pass the Legislature and then be challenged in court, the is legally protected.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels,” Williamson said. “If you are not satisfied with the demonstrations, then you will not go. It is like any other place. That’s why I don’t go to country music concerts; this is not my cup of tea.’

Williamson spent several years as a bartender at a drag club in Oregon and said drag is not based on sex.

“It was a way to express yourself that you might not have been able to in your public life, as a form of expression and empowerment.” “Obviously, like any other form of entertainment, there is some sex involved in one way or another. … There’s a difference between a drag show that you and I might see if we decide to go to a drag show on a Friday or Saturday night with a cover charge, versus a drag show on Sunday afternoon at a public park. .”

Boys Pride is planning an alternative children’s show at a private venue so family and friends of the performers can attend and the work the performers have done is not wasted, Williamson said.

If the bill is introduced as planned, Williamson said he expects a lot of pushback, and he hopes those who showed up for Boise Pride will come to the state or contact their representatives.

“Not just when we see this legislation, but any legislation that is hateful or offensive to anyone and has a negative impact on the general population, point out and point out.”

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