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Boise Pride cancels Drag Kids after a handful of sponsors drop out


The Boise Pride Festival is canceling one of its events involving minors after losing sponsors.

The event in question was called Drag Kids, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The festival brochure described it as a drag performance with children between the ages of 11-18.

Festival organizers called the move a difficult decision.

“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 health and well-being of the kids, their parents, and the attendees of the Festival are our priority,” a Pride news release said in part.

The release also said that the kids who were going to perform had support and consent from their parents.

Zions Bank was the first sponsor to pull out Wednesday. Idaho Power and the Department of Health and Welfare dropped out on Thursday. Zions Bank and DHW had both committed to $18,000 sponsorships, while Idaho Power committed to a $3,000 package according to pricing listed on a Pride Festival brochure. Pride has a total of 88 sponsors listed on its website.

In a statement from DHW Thursday, Director Dave Jeppesen said, in part, “DHW’s sponsorship of Boise Pride 2022 has led to some confusion about whether DHW endorses specific event activities involving minors during this event. To avoid any confusion regarding DHW’s support of such activities, DHW is withdrawing both of its Orange Level sponsorships and Project Filter will no longer be supporting a booth at the event this weekend.”

On Friday morning, Idaho Central Credit Union and CapED Credit Union pulled out. Both had sponsorships for $1,500.

“We appreciate the programming change made by Boise Pride, but have made the decision to withdraw our involvement from the event,” ICUU said in a statement.

The City of Boise is one of the festival sponsors. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean defended the event on Twitter Tuesday.

“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,” McLean tweeted.

After the Drag Kids performance was canceled Thursday, McLean thanked Pride organizers again and called on the community to come together.

“The inflammatory rhetoric of the past few days has put a spotlight on the critical need for our community to have a conversation about standing together in times like these to encourage, embrace, and support the diversity and dignity of all people. I hope to see many of you at the festival this weekend,” McLean said in a statement.

The Boise Pride Festival kicks off Friday evening and goes through Sunday. Organizers say they look forward to showcasing Drag Kids at a future event.

“All of these youth are extremely hard-working, talented, and amazing individuals who deserve to be showcased but also to do so in a safe space, so we will be making it our top priority to bring these kids the safe and incredible show that they deserve.”

Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons is BoiseDev's managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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