Idaho GOP Lawmakers to Introduce Bill Prohibiting Drag Performances in Public

outside of Idaho state house

“It’s just wrong on so many levels,” Boise Pride Executive Director Donald Williamson said.

Idaho lawmakers are planning to consider a bill that would ban drag performances in all public venues when they convene for their next legislative session in January.

The Idaho Family Policy Center (IFPC), a non-profit that works "to promote biblically sound public policy," was one of the key players behind the bill. Their mission was sparked in reaction to a drag show for children that was scheduled to occur at Boise Pride in September.

In a press release, the ministry stated it sent more than 26,000 emails to sponsors calling for their withdrawal from Boise Pride and a petition calling for reform.

The IFPC petition was signed by over 3,500 people and called for officials to “implement legal reform that would prohibit drag performances in public places where children are present,” according to the statement. 

“Drag shows in public places are certainly unconscionable, but under current Idaho law, these sexual exhibitions are actually legal. Therefore, Idaho Family Policy Center calls upon the state legislature to update our laws in the next legislative session so that innocent children are protected from these appalling displays of sexual deviancy,” president of Idaho Family Policy Center, Blaine Conzatti, said in a statement.

The event that sparked this reaction was called "Drag Kids," a roughly half-hour program on the three-day-long festival schedule where children could dress up and lip-sync on a stage to songs promoting inclusivity and acceptance, festival organizers told NBC News in September. After receiving a bombardment of death threats on social media, in addition to significant criticism from conservative elected officials who incorrectly claimed the event would contribute to the sexualization of minors, Boise Pride released a statement declaring the event was postponed. 

"While the vast majority of our sponsors and supporters have voiced their support for the Boise Pride Festival and the Drag Kids program, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone this performance due to increased safety concerns,” the organization said in a tweet

Boise Pride Executive Director Donald Williamson knows of the bill's existence but is hoping it is met with pushback.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels,” Williamson told the Idaho Capital Sun. “If you don’t agree with the performances, then you don’t go. It’s just like any other venue. It’s why I don’t go to country music concerts; it’s not my cup of tea.”

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