Queer Halloween drag show targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ parents

Participants march at the 2022 San Diego Pride Festival And Parade

A queer Halloween drag show is under threat after anti-LGBTQ+ parents expressed their outrage at the family-friendly event.

The Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) in San Diego, California advertised it’s hosting a “Boo Bash” on 29 October to celebrate the spooky season and LGBTQ+ community.

A pamphlet described it as a queer Halloween party that includes fun games, trick-or-treating and a costume contest. There will also be a Disney villain-themed drag show, which has been billed as “family-friendly” for adults and kids to enjoy together.

The event is being organised by the TransFamily Support Services, an organisation based in San Diego which supports trans youth and their families in the US, KGTV reported. 

Paul Jonna, an attorney, told the outlet that he got a call from a parent who received news of the event via an email and was concerned about children attending the family-friendly event.

“A lot of people are just generally not comfortable with the idea of pushing drag queen shows on little kids but separate and apart from that I think the biggest concern with this event are the sponsors,” Jonna said.

“We submitted a public records request to find out more about their involvement, their communication with these sponsors and this sort of event.”

‘We won’t back down’

According to the event’s website, sponsors include Fabulous Hillcrest, Rich’s Nightclub, SD Loyals, North County LGBTQ Center and San Diego Pride.

Angry anti-LGBTQ+ parents of EUSD students and other community members are planning to protest outside the district office, KUSI reported. 

EUSD said in a statement to KGTV that the flyer for a non-district event was previously included in an optional information hub detailing community events for families in the area. 

It added that all flyers are stamped with a disclaimer that distribution of the pamphlets “does not imply endorsement by the [EUSD], its schools or staff and is distributed in compliance with federal and state law”.

But Kathie Moehlig, the event’s organiser, promised the queer Halloween party and its drag show will go on as planned. 

“We’re not going to back down from doing what we know is right and appropriate to support these youth and their families, just because some people think they can use it as their mega piece to get talking points and get attention,” Moehlig said.

Attacks on drag ‘a diversion tactic’

Drag events have become a topic of discussion worldwide as right-wing lawmakers and anti-LGBTQ+ activists target shows that cater to families and young people

LGBTQ+ people and allies have banded together to protect drag events as well as their patrons from vicious conservative mobs. 

Several Republican lawmakers have put forward legislation attempting to ban kids from drag shows. 

Texas state representative Bryan Slaton has led the charge on such attempts after he vowed in June to introduce a bill that would prevent kids from attending drag performances. Slaton claimed the legislation was needed to protect children from what he described as “sexualisation” at drag shows. 

However, drag icon RuPaul slammed Republicans’ attempts to ban kids from drag shows. The Drag Race host said such bans are a “diversion tactic” to turn the conversation from important issues in the US like gun control.