Protesters interrupt queer youth dance in Kelowna

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Protesters interrupt queer youth dance in Kelowna
WATCH: A Halloween dance for queer youth in Kelowna, which featured a drag show, was interrupted Thursday night by a small group of protesters. – Oct 28, 2022

It was supposed to be a night for many 2SLGBTQIA+ youths in Kelowna to celebrate Halloween in a safe space on Thursday, but a small group of protesters showed up in an attempt to shame the organizers.

“The protesters brought signs indicating that the drag show was not appropriate and it was over-sexualized,” said Noni Phillips, Free Parent Hugs Kelowna founder.

However, Phillips says the Queer Youth Halloween Drag and Dance, organized by Free Parent Hugs Kelowna, was for youth ages 12 to 19 and featured age-appropriate costumes, performances, and music.

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But the protesters, she says, brought posters with racy photos of some of the drag queen performers from their past adult shows.

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“They were in more adult performance mode, where they had different attire and different just ways of being in dance moves that aren’t in fact, age-appropriate,” said Phillips.

“So I thought it was funny that the protesters brought the more inappropriate media to the party.”

Phillips says the protesters stayed fairly peaceful while holding their signs outside on their side of the road.

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While tempted, she says the Free Parent Hugs Kelowna group decided against asking the group to leave, to avoid any conflicts.

“Our goal is not to engage with the opposite side … we feel that we are inclusive people. Rather than wanting to fight we would rather bring you in and educate and talk about what we’re doing,” said Phillips.

Prior to the dance, the Free Parent Hugs Kelowna group received a message from a social media user, criticizing the event.

Click to play video: 'Virtual conference aimed at bringing together  2SLGBTQ+ older adults'
Virtual conference aimed at bringing together 2SLGBTQ+ older adults

“This is incredibly shocking that any parent would think grown men dressed in scandalous clothing dancing in front of children is acceptable … You claim to be about equality and bringing people together, so why push lewd behavior and subject impressionable children to adult content,” the user wrote.

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According to Phillips, messages like these, are nothing new.

“There are quite a few people in our community, unfortunately still, who discriminate against those who are a part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ it’s unfortunate especially (because) youth tend to feel that every day,” said Phillips.

“Some of the kids were trying to stay away from it, it hurts feelings, they feel like they’re not seen, they feel like they don’t fit.”

Ryan Watters of the Kelowna RCMP says an officer attended the dance to ask protesters to leave, however, when the officer arrived the protesters had already left.

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