Opinion: Boise Pride is a safe and positive environment for children

Boise pride
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

The Kids Drag show was scheduled to be a mere 30-minute program taking place during Boise’s three-day-long Pride festival. But just days before the festival was set to begin, many sponsors, including Idaho Power and Zions Bank, began to pull from the event, expressing concerns over the inclusion of kids’ drag. 

“The sexualization of children is wrong,” read a tweet from the Idaho GOP’s official Twitter account. “Idaho rejects the imposition of adult sexuality & adult sexual appetites on children.”

But nothing about kids performing drag “imposes adult sexuality” on them. These kids are just lip-syncing to their favorite songs and expressing themselves as children do, it makes no difference what they are wearing. 

“It would just be really cool to go on the stage,” Jordan, a 12-year-old from Boise who was hoping to perform in the kids drag show, said. “The drag queens are always so fun to watch and they always have super cool costumes.”

Adults are the only ones who are sexualizing drag performances. To kids, it’s fun and exciting to see performers expressing themselves in such an over-the-top, vibrant manner — it’s not shocking that children would want to copy this behavior. 

Not only did several sponsors pull their funding because of a false belief that the Kids Drag program is sexual, but some individuals were so bothered that they posted threats towards the adult performers and organizers of Boise Pride

Boise Pride eventually made the decision to postpone the Kids Drag program until a later date due to safety concerns for the performers. Postponing the show, however, did not cause any sponsors that pulled funding to reconsider their partnership with Boise Pride.  

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare not only pulled $38,000 in funding due to the Kids Drag program being scheduled, they also backed out on supplying resources focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, according to a letter the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare sent to the director of Boise Pride

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is supposed to be “dedicated to promoting services that promote health and wellbeing,” yet they refused to provide educational AIDS resources to the most affected community because they view kids performing drag as problematic.

Sexualization of drag and pride as a whole has been an issue in the United States for decades. In 2019, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took to the internet to express her dismay about a drag queen reading books to kids at a local library story time. 

Boise pride
[Boise Pride participants gather in front of the Idaho State Capitol.]
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

“I do not hate or have any ill will against that man. I just don’t like that gender confusion being put on young children,” Greene said in an online video. “This is the type of thing that if they want to do it, [then they can do it] in their private homes. They’re brainwashing our kids to believe that gender is whatever you want to believe.”

But pride does not confuse kids, it affirms to them that they can be whoever they want to be.

“My mom and I have come the last two years and everyone is really nice … and I can just like, be myself,” Jordan said.

The first official “pride marches” were held in June of 1970 in New York on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The marches were a commemoration of Stonewall, and a continued demonstration for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Boise Pride is currently in its 33rd year, having been founded in 1989. Today, Pride continues to be a safe place for everyone to be themselves and take pride in who they are. 

Kids should be able to be exposed to this community and learn about the history of Pride to understand its significance and to better understand themselves and society.

For me, Pride has always been a fun and safe space to meet new people and it’s upsetting to see so many people try to take this opportunity away from others, especially from the kids who may really need a safe environment to be who they are.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Drew

    Great article, Kate! I really enjoyed your perspective on this issue and agree wholeheartedly. Pride is a protest, and Drag is a fascinating performance that aims to toy with gender expression. Anyone sexualizing Drag is missing the point – there is nothing sexual about it. It is in no way dissimilar to dressing up for Halloween.

    Excellent article.

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