A three-day Boise, Idaho Pride festival, sponsored by major corporations and beginning this week, will feature “drag kids” as young as 11 who will be “bring[ing] drag to the younger generation.”
The annual Boise Pride Festival & Parade— set for this weekend — will feature “Drag Kids” on stage, which the event’s guide describes as “a drag show like none other,” which will incidentally take place on the anniversary of 9/11.
While participants in “Drag Kids” are children ranging in age from 11 to 18 who “are ready to bring it all” to the festival stage, viewers may be of any age.
The guide calls on people to “Come and cheer them on as they bring drag to the younger generation!”
Drag kids featured in a pride event?
With Jack Daniels as a sponsor? pic.twitter.com/Zu7FKEw8qh
— CR (@efiniracer) September 7, 2022
The act follows “Drag Story Time,” which will feature stories “read by some of your favorite Drag Queens and Kings.”
“Come gather up close to the stage and enjoy story time from Kenni The Doll, Celeste Lotsaheart, and Dante Diamante,” the guide reads.
The Boise Pride Fest, the region’s largest LGBTQ+ Pride celebration founded in 1989, “celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride,” according to its website.
The event’s webpage features an image of a group of young volunteers — with a boy at the center who appears to be sucking a rainbow-colored lollipop in the shape of male genitals.
Celebrating its 33rd anniversary, the 2022 festival intentionally shifted the usual June date in order to ensure more families could attend in September.
“We escape some of the hottest parts of the summer, attract more young people with area colleges and universities back in session, and families typically return from summer vacations with children returning to school,” the guide states.
The guide’s cover says the Pride event, Idaho’s largest of the year, is dedicated to “supporting our superhumans.”
Pick up today's issue of @Boiseweekly and get your copy of the Official Boise Pride Guide. Thank you, Boise Weekly for being a sponsor and supporting #BoisePride! #boisepride2022 #supportingoursuperhumans pic.twitter.com/IG4PM8tuY0
— Boise Pride (@boisepride) September 1, 2022
The theme of members of the LGBTQ community being depicted as superhumans with “superpowers” continues as the event’s executive director Donald Williamson writes:
Look around you today. You are the superhumans! Surrounded by thousands of other superhumans, all members of the LGBTQIA+ and allied communities! While we need to push back against those who seek to eliminate our rights, we can also take the time to celebrate our community and our superpowers!
Sponsors of the event include the City of Boise, Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase, Target, Walmart, HP, AT&T, Macy’s, Amazon, Smirnoff, Jack Daniel’s, Chobani, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade among others.
Two of the sponsors, Central District Health and The Balcony Club, have come together to offer a monkeypox vaccine clinic during the festival.
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Boise Mayor Lauren McLean expressed her pride in the festival on Tuesday, while highlighting the need to “show our kids and teens that they have a home here, that we welcome them, accept, and support them for who they are, as they are.”
I applaud the organizers, who have planned a weekend full of positive, inclusive events for all ages. We must show our kids and teens that they have a home here, that we welcome them, accept, and support them for who they are, as they are.
— Mayor McLean (@boisemayor) September 6, 2022
In response to the segment, many social media users expressed everything from dismay to disgust, with some calling for a boycott of the corporate sponsors.
“Is everybody really fine with this? 11-year old drag queens? Doesn’t seem excessive? Nothing strange about it?” asked essayist Wesley Yang.
“One is a hateful bigot for raising an eyebrow at 11-year old drag queens? One is ‘far right’ for questioning the propriety of 11-year old drag queens? Real questions,” he added.
Is everybody really fine with this? 11-year old drag queens? Doesn't seem excessive? Nothing strange about it? One is a hateful bigot for raising an eyebrow at 11-year old drag queens? One is "far right" for questioning the propriety of 11-year old drag queens? Real questions. https://t.co/y8NikGYjUq
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) September 6, 2022
“Remember when this thing started out as the issue with Drag Queen Story hour, and now we hit the point with drag queen performances for children and children drag queens,” wrote one Twitter user. “This is wrong on so many many levels.”
“The city of Boise is actively promoting the abuse of children,” wrote another.
“What ever happened to clowns making balloon animals, face painting, displays of fire trucks,” another user wrote. “Too old fashioned for the modern 7 year old?”
“Time for the spending public to walk away from Citibank, Wells Fargo, Target, and Hewlett-Packard, the only way these companies will realise they are sponsoring the wrong ‘events’ when it hits their bottom line,” wrote another Twitter user.
“Maybe we should boycott all of those places,” wrote yet another.
“Disgusting is what it is,” another user wrote.
The event comes as pro-LGBTQ and transgender propaganda continues to be marketed to children.
In July, Salon published a piece claiming drag performances can be a “good thing” to expose children to, and that young children can be “mature enough” to handle the “language and sexual innuendo.”
In June, Danish toy giant LEGO launched a campaign to “raise awareness” and “celebrate inclusivity and embrace self-expression” as it introduced fans to stories and creations of members of the “LGBTQIA+ community” and pledged to arrange “Drag Queen Story Time” at its offices.
Also in June, New York City Mayor Eric Adams faced severe backlash following his praise for “drag storytellers” and their contributions to the school system and students — who he claimed could greatly benefit from such child-centric events.
In addition, a video depicting a young child tipping a drag queen with uncovered fake breasts went viral this year, sparking outrage among social media users.
This is what a “family-friendly drag show” in a bar looks like pic.twitter.com/oTnLmdEkaZ
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) June 16, 2022
Breitbart News also noted that a viral video surfaced featuring drag queens dancing in front of babies and toddlers at a Dallas pride event called “Drag the Kids to Pride,” which was advertised as being “family-friendly.”
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asserted that men freely expressing themselves in drag is “what America is all about,” making the remarks during an appearance on the seventh season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
“[It’s] my honor to be here, to say to all of you how proud we are of you. Thank you for the joy and beauty you bring to the world,” she said. “Your freedom of expression of yourselves in drag is what America is all about.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.