The third-annual Jackson Pride Fest was planning a drag show for its Oct. 8 “pride” event in the city’s Conger Park, but an ad hoc coalition of elected officials and church leaders fought to stop it in light of similar lewd events occurring across the country.
The fact Pride Fest was advertising the drag show as “family friendly” also angered many in the city of 68,000 residents, and it appears that accusation of “grooming” children is what drew attention and an organized protest going back to September.
“Children should not be exposed to something of this nature,” Jerry Duce, an evangelist and local church pastor, tells AFN. “To me, it’s a type of child abuse.”
According to The Jackson Sun newspaper, which followed the controversy for weeks, public pushback forced Jackson Pride organizers to move the event to an indoor facility and, more importantly, to eventually limit the audience to anyone 18 years and older.
The newspaper credited – or blamed – depending on your point of view state Rep. Chris Todd (R-Jackson) for being among the most vocal opponents of the drag show. The opposing parties had shaken hands on an agreement to move the crude event from the city park to the Carl Perkins Civic Center but Rep. Todd was not satisfied because of the all-ages allowance. He went to court and filed an injunction to stop the drag show, the Sun reported.
With the date for Pride Fest looming, the opposing parties went before a chancery judge and agreed to set an age restriction.
“It’s been about protecting the kids in our community from something that we believe is harmful to them,” Rep. Todd, who compared it to child abuse, told the Sun. “It’s not age appropriate.”
The state lawmaker also said such vulgar shows are meant to “groom and recruit children,” and he didn’t back down when the newspaper demanded that he prove how he knows it is child abuse without knowing anything about the drag show performers.
While it is true Todd didn't know if performers "Sugar Walls" and "Imagine Azengrader" would keep their performances rated PG, other male drag performers in other drag shows have literally twerked in front of children and accepted dollar bills from them like a stripper.
At a similar show in Chattanooga that featured Disney characters, video showed a child touching a performer's groin.
What was Chattanooga Pride's response when the video went viral? "Recording innocent children without telling them, or their parents is very dangerous," the group said.
According to Drace, he compares the wickedness of “gay pride” in his community to “creatures from Hell” who are daring their opponents to take action.