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A group billing themselves as Johnson County Citizens for the Protection of Children is up in arms about the Warrensburg Pride Festival scheduled for June 3, 2023. There will be drag shows on the program. You know, fancy costumes, theatrical makeup, show tunes. This is nothing new. There were Pride Festivals in Warrensburg in 2021 and 2022.

These right wingnut busybodies organized on-line to present a petition to the Warrensburg City Council during the public comment portion of last night’s meeting to limit or cancel the Pride Festival. A loosely organized group of LGBTQIA+ allies organized on-line to speak in support of the Pride Festival.

Standing room only.

Signing in.

Over 100 people crowded into the gallery of the city council chambers by the scheduled 7:00 p.m. start of the meeting. We asked a city council meeting regular if they recalled any other meetings with this large of a crowd. “No.”

After the city council convened and worked through the beginning of the agenda the portion of the meeting for public comment was prefaced by an explanation of the ground rules. The city council was there to listen, but would not comment nor respond to questions. Individuals who signed up for public comment were allotted three minutes, with a city official acting as the timer. This worked well, with one glaring exception. Speakers were asked to state their name and address.

…I’m the one that invited the folks to come to our community and have a Pride event. I tried to get one started in 2020, didn’t work out. 2021, we had our first one, I thought it went very well. We also had one last year, and evidently some folks not real happy about having that event. I’m not sure what to say.

I was thinking Carrie might be here, but I guess I don’t see her right now. I know she used to live right close here. But, I thought when we got rid of the Nineteenth and adopted the Twenty-First that we might have been a little closer to understanding that we should let people have their freedoms and do things. And if we don’t like it, don’t go. That would be the point of this Pride deal, is that if don’t want to go, you don’t have to go. If other people want to go to do a legal activity in a enclosed environment, they should be able to do that.

Now, I’ve heard about those other people in Columbia, those fearful people from a big city. But, again, they were invited to come to our community. Many speakers here today will tell you that they want to have that activity occur.

The other thing I guess I was hearing is that there was abuse last year. I’m a father, a grandfather, I served twenty-one years in the Army, I was a required reporter for child abuse for more than twenty years in Missouri. Used to inspect day cares and home care providers. If I saw abuse I would have reported or stopped it. There was no abuse.

If you look on social media you’ll see some pictures. That’s not anything filmed in Johnson County. I don’t recognize any of those performers. They didn’t come to our town to perform. I don’t know where that was filmed at, but that didn’t happen here. Nor, would we allow that type of performance.

So, let’s be a little clear, you know [….]. Anyway, I guess I don’t see Carrie, but I think her spirit is here. If you want to know Carrie’s last name, it’s Nation. She’s the one with the Tomahawk. [“Time”] [laughter] Thank you.

…the advertisement for the Burg Pride Fest. And the thing that caught me on the invitation was there are seven and a half hours specifically allotted for children and/or their parents or their supervisor. And there’s one and a half hours allotted for adults. So that gives a message to me. It’s like why is there this inordinate desire for these people to be in front of kids? So, that was my first thought…

Never been to a movie theatre? Never watched television?

“Inordinate desire”? Don’t think of an elephant.

“These people”?

… [501(c)3 or 501(c)4] …I was super curious about the organization that brought this petition up, or will be bringing the petition up….I looked on our Secretary of State’s site and found that this organization, We the People of Missouri, was registered as a 501(c)4 which says they are non-partisan and educational…

…that in order to be considered educational it must present a sufficiently full and fair exposition of pertinent facts, to permit a formation of an independent opinion or conclusion.

Now, I do believe there will be items raised on both sides of this concern tonight, I do not believe they will be brought by the same people…

…I come before you tonight as one of many citizens standing up to protect our children from exposure to inappropriate performances that are commonplace at drag shows…

…Like many of my neighbors and friends I’m very concerned about what children see and learn. For instance, there’s an organization here tonight and I think it’s awful that kids learn hate and Fascism and things like that. So, what I’m gonna do about it is, I’m not gonna take my kids. And what I’m not gonna do about it is come to this, this, government and ask you to infringe on their First Amendment rights…

…Our LGBTQ community are not nuisances. They’re not. So, if you don’t like Pride, don’t go. And the last thing I have to say is, you know, don’t be, don’t be the council that signs on to Fascism…

I attended last year’s event. There was no abuse anywhere. There were a lot of adults there. There were a lot of kids there. It was publicized, no one was caught off guard, and it was a voluntary event. People could choose to attend or not attend.

I have a problem with the characterization of performers as being evil, or predatory, or whatever they want to call it. There is no evidence of that. And that is not a way that we address human beings. Out of such language come things like mass shootings. And we don’t need to do that.

This is a group within our community. It is not the entire community. There are other groups in the community that hold different views on how to raise their children. I do not tell them how to raise their children, and I respectfully ask that they not tell me how to raise mine. I will choose the events that they go to, I will choose the books that they read, and I expect that others will grant me the same respect.

This is not a necessary petition.

It was on private property. It was closed. The children did not get there by nefarious means, they did not magically transport there. Their parents brought them there.

And their parents have the right to emphasize the values that they consider important. You may not like that…but it is still their right to raise their children according to their values. Just as it is to raise your children according to your values.

So, I would suggest that we understand within a much larger community of other groups and that they do not speak for all of us. And they do not speak for me. Thank you.


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