After multiple sponsors dropped financial support for an LGBT Pride festival in Boise, Idaho — which would have featured children performing in drag on the anniversary of 9/11 — the organizers have now said that the child drag show has been cancelled.
The Pride festival still features a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, which was originally supposed to be followed by a child drag queen dance event. The Drag Story Hour is still planned to go ahead. According to the schedule published on the website, attendees will be given 15 minutes to remember the thousands of lives lost on 9/11 after terrorists committed attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. Immediately afterwards, drag story time will begin, which usually features a man dressed in women’s clothing reading to children. Shortly after, the children drag queen event, known as Drag Kids, was originally scheduled to begin.
However, apparently the inclusion of children was too much for Zions Bank, which dropped funding for the event. After Zions Bank dropped its support, Idaho Power and the Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) also dropped out on Thursday. Both Zions Bank and DHW committed $18,000 to the event. The two-day festival has a total of 88 sponsors listed on its website.
Festival organizers said the move to drop Drag Kids was a difficult decision.
“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 due to increased safety concerns. The health and well-being of the kids, their parents, and the attendees of the Festival are our priority,” read a Pride press release.
Zions Bank released a statement explaining its decision.
“Over the years, Zions Bank has supported a variety of 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,” the statement reads. “This support for all of our employees and communities remains unchanged.”
The Boise Pride festival responded to Zions Bank, writing the organization is “saddened to learn this is how they have chosen to respond to clearly anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and actions.”
The pro-LGBT event will last two days and take place in the State Capitol building and a nearby park. The controversial Drag Kids event was described as “a drag show like none other, the Drag Kids range from ages 11-18 and are ready to bring it all to the Boise Pride Festival Stage! Come and cheer them on as they bring drag to the younger generation!”
The festival is also sponsored by some of the country’s top corporations, including Amazon, Well’s Fargo, Target, Jack Daniel’s, HP, AT&T, Macy’s, Proctor and Gamble, and Chase.
The Idaho Republican Party responded to the drag show, with the party asking for residents to boycott the event. Republicans also released a statement with phone numbers of many of the major corporations and organizations involved with sponsoring the event. The statement urges concerned citizens to call and ask them to drop their support.
The newly elected Idaho GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon issued a statement on Wednesday morning calling on “concerned Idahoans” to “disavow this attack on Idaho’s children and invest their sponsorship dollars” elsewhere.
“To be clear, this is no sleight-of-hand or political wordsmithing: Idaho’s Democrat party believes it is not only okay but laudable to encourage children to engage in public displays of sexuality,” Moon wrote in the email statement. “For those who have been following the radicalization of the Democrat party, this should come as no surprise.”