A Pride festival has faced backlash after announcing plans to follow up 15 minutes of 9/11 remembrance with a 45-minute long children's drag show.
Boise Pride Festival is set to get underway in Idaho, US tomorrow (September 9) with a number of events ranging from fireworks to burlesque to music.
The schedule for September 11 has sparked fury online, leading to politicians making statements and seen sponsors pull out.
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"9/11 Remembrance" is pencilled into a 15-minute slot at 11.30am. "Drag Kids" will kick off at 12.45pm and last 45 minutes.
The description for the drag show reads: "You have watched the Queens and Kings and now it is time to see the kids.
"A drag show like none other, the Drag Kids range from ages 11-18 and are ready to bring it all to the Boise Pride Festival stage!
"Come and cheer them on as they bring drag to the younger generation."
Discussing the 9/11 event, Boise Pride communications coordinator Rachael Brister told the Idaho Statesman: "Like the 20th anniversary last year, we will take time on stage to recognise the significance of the event and how it still affects so many people."
Yesterday (September 7), Chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party Dorothy Moon released a statement slamming the incumbent Democrat Boise Mayor Lauren McLean.
It read: "It’s no wonder that she’s now put Boise in the middle of a national firestorm over the sexualization of children.
"Idaho’s Democrat party believes it is not only okay but laudable to encourage children to engage in public displays of sexuality."
The statement also criticised "out-of-state companies" for financing "the sexualization of our children and the perverse idea that children should engage in sexual performances with adult entertainers".
Following that, Zions Bank announced it was pulling out as a sponsor.
They said in a statement: "Over the years, Zions Bank has supported a variety of Pride events because they are an important part of our support for our LGBTQ employees.
"This support for all of our employees and communities remains unchanged. However, when we committed to our sponsorship of this year's Boise Pride event, were were unaware of the event's activities involving children/minors.
"Since learning of these specific activities, we have made the decision to withdraw our participation in this year's Boise Pride event and have communicated this to the event organizers."
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Boise Pride said in response: "The Drag Kids performance is a celebration of self-expression and confidence. The only perversion and sexualization of this performance is coming from extremists and people like Dorothy Moon, who are twisting it into something it is not.
"Often when younger people come out, they struggle with their identity, self-acceptance, and self-expression. Dressing in costume and performing builds that confidence, encourages individuality, and ultimately is empowering.
"It's not a radical liberal agenda to accept people for who they are. It's human."
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