“…either everyone is welcome in Warrensburg, or no one is…”
A group billing themselves as Johnson County Citizens for the Protection of Children is still 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 had organized on-line to present a petition to the Warrensburg City Council during the public comment portion of the City Council’s evening meeting on April 24th 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.
The pearl clutching busybodies returned to Monday night’s City Council to demand an ordinance banning drag shows in Warrensburg, this time with photos on posterboard. In the period between the two council meetings the producers of the Pride Festival had already changed the festival format to 18 years of age and older due to reported threats against the festival and the venue. A similar group of LGBTQIA+ allies attended and signed in to speak in support of the Pride Festival and against a city ordinance.
More of the public comments:
…Again, thank you for allowing me to speak today. I’ll try to keep it short this time, I wrote this stuff down. Um, we’ve heard a lot of talk about safety and protecting children. But, I, I have to ask, does that include my kids? Are you gonna protect my kids when they get harassed for being gay, walking down the street. Because that does happen.
I want to make a point that making it 18+ is not an admittance that it was wrong or something inappropriate was happening. This means that the people who put it on took into account the threats they were receiving and decided to make it a, a decision basically out of safety.
Um, I would encourage the council to reach out to those businesses, publicize a point of contact to those businesses to contact you to know how they were being harassed, how they were being threatened.
Um, basically in my opinion a ban is a solution in search of a problem. We don’t have an epidemic of drag shows happening in this town. And so, I don’t know why a ban would be really necessary.
We even considered, uh, organizing an LGBTQ family event, just for families, not including any drag performers. And even when we were considering that we thought, what about the safety of the families attending. I think that says something when we are concerned about families just getting together being threatened.
Um, last I would say, either everyone is welcome in Warrensburg, or no one is.
…Everyone here today is talking about the children. And, you know, as the person who is my dad just spoke, I am, actually, one of these children. I used to be. Three years ago I was in Warrensburg High School. This place, I have never felt, less safe.
I grew up here, born and raised here.
When I found out that I went to UCM I almost cried because of the safety that I didn’t ever really feel in this community.
In high school people said heinous phrases to insult me just for being LGBTQ. People would shout ‘faggot’ towards me. People would shout slurs in my direction. I even had people tell me that they hope I got raped by my dad.
I have never felt more suicidal than homophobic people speaking against the rights of me and my siblings. The only places I have ever felt safe in Warrensburg, from even just walking down the street, has been the Pride events in Warrensburg.
These pride events are really important for children to experience because in high school they are not safe. They do not feel safe. LGBTQ kids feel like they have no community. And Pride is that sense of community.
I know people have said they’ve been worried about the drag shows and have showed images. I, trust me, you can see worse images if you go to a public pool. These public pools, we’re not showing ordinances against those. And this is because it’s not an LGBTQ event.
They’re not attacking us because it is not a sexually exploitive experience, it is because they are LGBTQ.
People talk about the agenda, people in the audience have said this, this is just because it’s LGBTQ people.
There are kids, including my siblings, who are the positions that I was in, who cannot access Pride anymore. And LGBTQ kids, just like me, are afraid to speak up.
The only thing this proposed ordinance would protect children from is their own self-expression. Please, if you care about people like me, do not pass this ordinance.
…back in the day I was a tour director. And I took conventions, conferences, and tours to places like Miami, New York City, Chicago, uh, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas. A few years after that I taught on post at a military base. And I have seen all of the clubs that are on the outside gates of the military base.
I can pretty much, with assurance, state that what we had last year at Pride was none of the above. It was very family friendly and we should be very comfortable with NClusion Plus. They took great care of the kids that came to see them.
In the state of Missouri it is legal for a parent to give permission for a child under the age of 16 to marry. In the state of Missouri it is legal to force a child who has been raped to bear a child.
Think about that.
I am extremely concerned that because the words perversion, yad, yada, yada, etcetera, whatever, are getting thrown around we are mistaking human sexuality for an imaginary problem.
Grooming happens within a trust relationship. Those trust relationships are mostly really close to home. It’s the pastor, it’s the athletic coach, it’s the caretaker, it’s the babysitter.
It doesn’t happen in a one-hour or two-hour show.
We have had somewhere around six hundred years of common reading available. And in that time we have managed to read the bible, all manner of western civilization literature and it has not gotten rid of gayness.
They’re not going away.
Two hours at a kid friendly drag show, make those, outlaw those? That’s Robin Williams. That’s Bob Hope. [laughter] Yeah.
We just had a proclamation in this chamber a couple of months ago supporting the LGBTQIA community. In the city of Warrensburg we declared ourselves a welcoming community.
I don’t care how you raise your children. You do not have the right to tell anyone else how to raise theirs.
And the city of Warrensburg has followed their processes, yes ma’am….
…I’ve been a member of the Warrensburg community for thirty years. And I stand firm when I say that I stand to protect children. Allowing those children, 18 an under, to attend any type of adult entertainment, including a drag show is unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if they are the children or family of the performers or participants.
State laws that prohibit this are there to protect the children in our community.
In this community there seems to be some question whether the state laws in place should be enforced locally.
I would like a municipal ordinance put in place to codify that no one under 18 be allowed to drag shows or any other adult entertainment within city limits.
“…State laws that prohibit this are there…”
“…there seems to be some question whether the state laws in place should be enforced locally…”
Rick Brattin (r) and Denny Hoskins (r) are the pre-eminent legal scholars and final arbiters of the law in the State of Missouri, said no one ever.
…Um, we’ve talked a lot about rights. And what I realize, I think, anyway, what I realize is there was no vote taken about having a drag queen show in the Warrensburg area. It just appeared. So anybody who didn’t particularly want it really never even got to have a vote about that.
So now, belatedly, we’re coming forward and saying we don’t want that for children. We simply don’t want it for children.
The bottom line is that drag queen exposure for kids just helps confuse them. And it’s a mean trick. It obvious, it, I mean, it is. If somebody had thrown that in my face when I was a kid I probably would have run out screaming. And that’s the truth. I would have started crying and run away.
Um, it’s, it’s not fair. It is just not a fair thing to do to children. It mixes them up, it confuses them.
So, I do also request that the city do, uh, a municipal ordinance to ban drag queen shows for children, for children. Let’s not mix them up anymore. Life’s hard enough. Thanks.
“…what I realize is there was no vote taken about having a drag queen show in the Warrensburg area….”
There were no votes taken about which pizza toppings to order…in the Warrensburg area. There were no votes taken about what day we can wax our cars…in the Warrensburg area. There were no votes taken about which doctor’s office we can visit…in the Warrensburg area.
“…It just appeared….” Immaculately.
“…So anybody who didn’t particularly want it really never even got to have a vote about that…”
And no one really never even got to have a vote about which movies appear at the local theater. Fancy that.
…I, too, have been a resident of this town for fifty years. Quite some time. [….] However, I also have worked for the city of Warrensburg, as a dispatcher, a law enforcement officer, and in Johnson County as a law enforcement officer investigating child abuse and personal crimes.
During that point in time I never, in my investigation of child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, child emotional abuse, ever spoke to a drag queen. I spoke to pastors, I spoke to friends, I spoke to family. I spoke to two little girls whose father committed suicide because it was disclosed that he had been sexually abusing the older daughter. Never a drag queen.
We’ve heard talk of grooming [….] and I believe this was brought to your attention just a few minutes ago as well, that there are several steps to grooming a child to the point that they can be sexually abused. It includes gaining trust and access, playing a role in the child’s life, isolating the child, creating secrecy around this relationship, initiating sexual contact, and controlling this relationship. It does not happen, again, as been mentioned, in a one hour drag show.
It doesn’t happen.
If people want to talk to others about protecting children maybe this needs to be taken to the schools, maybe this needs to be taken to the churches, maybe this needs to be a community project with parents and caregivers in the city of Warrensburg.
I’m not a religious person, but I will finish with this. Matthew 7-1, the new living translation, do not judge others and you will not be judged. Verse 2, you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
I’d also like to say [turning to gallery], so many times I cannot hear the words of love that you are professing, because your actions are too loud.
Warrensburg Pride Festival – June 26, 2021 (June 26, 2021)
Local busybodies engage in pearl clutching (June 3, 2022)
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ.” (June 4, 2022)
Pride Festival – Warrensburg, Missouri – June 4, 2022 (June 4, 2022)
The pearl clutching right wingnut bigots among us (April 19, 2023)
Always the other (April 21, 2023)
Meta – The pearl clutching right wingnut bigots among us (April 22, 2023)
Unified Field Theory of Right Wingnut Pearl Clutching, Self-Righteousness, and Victimhood (April 22, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council – April 24, 2023 (April 25, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council – April 24, 2023 – part 2 (April 26, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council Meeting – May 8, 2023 (May 9, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council Meeting – May 8, 2023 – part 2 (May 9, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council Meeting – May 8, 2023 – part 3 (May 9, 2023)
Addressing Bigotry – Warrensburg, Missouri City Council Meeting – May 8, 2023 – part 4 (May 9, 2023)