Drag show in EKY canceled after threats of violence

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- A drag show scheduled for this weekend in Prestonsburg has been canceled after organizers says there were threats of violence against them and the venue.

The event called “Come As You Are” was supposed to be a fundraiser for the LGBTQ community.

Counselor Kyle May is the owner of Open Doors Counseling Center and an organizer of the drag show.

“We were going to incorporate some mental health themes with the show, so we were going to talk about self love, self acceptance. We were also going to raise money for what we were calling the rainbow closet,” says May.

May says many in the community were excited. Donations had been pouring in. But others weren’t. Some took to social media to criticize the event and make threats.

“There were comments that were talking about bringing guns to the event, coming armed, bringing loaded weapons to protest. So that started to feel very ligitimate and real,” says May.

So organizers made the tough decision to cancel the show.The cancellation comes in the midst of proposed legislation in Kentucky- which opponents call some of the worst anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country.

Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 150 which bans gender affirming care for minors, prevents teachers from calling students by their preferred pronouns, and forces districts to create bathroom policies for transgender students. The governor is expected to veto that bill, but lawmakers could override it.

Another bill that would ban drag shows near public places doesn’t have enough votes to pass out of the house until lawmakers return after a veto break on March 29th.

In response to the cancellation, the Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Tamarra Wieder says in part quote:

“These hateful and stigmatizing bills are a dog whistle to extremists, giving them the green light to stigmatize, shame and threaten kentuckians in an attempt to create a culture war. It is unacceptable.”

May, who is from eastern Kentucky, says the region has come a long way in supporting the LGBTQ community.

“The majority of the community here is welcoming and affirming and accepting. You just sometimes have those few that are just louder and more hateful.”

While the show was postponed, May says they’ll continue to spread the love.

“We will not be eradicated. We will not be erased. And there is no law that you can write to get rid of us.”

Organizers say they’re trying to come up with other avenues, like doing a virtual show and changing locations, but a date has not yet been set.


Categories: Featured, Local News, News