More on the Amarillo drag queen show controversy


Earlier this week, I posted the response by Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson concerning an upcoming drag queen show at the Globe News Center for the Performing Arts. 

Concerns have been expressed by citizens and local church leaders over the content of the show and that it's billed as all ages welcome. Other groups are now speaking up in support of the show. 

Information posted on the Amarillo Civic Center Complex website about 'A Drag Queen Christmas Show' states:

"For the 8th consecutive year, Murray & Peter present, “A Drag Queen Christmas”. Get ready for your favorite queens performing live on stage. We’ve got Winners, Fan Favorites and Miss Congeniality. VIP Meet & Greet tickets are also available. The M&G starts at 6pm. All ages welcome. The show starts at 8pm. There will be a 20-minute intermission.

"Fans who purchase the VIP ticket - Will meet all the queens before the show, take pictures and score autographs. Tour swag includes an official tour poster and laminate with lanyard. If you purchase merch at the venue, the queens will autograph their merch during the M&G. Please arrive by 6pm and check in at the box office.

"Check DragFans.com for the cast performing in your city. Hosted by Nina West & Trinity Taylor."

Hear is the full text of Mayor Nelson's response:

"Dear fellow leader,

"In the past two weeks, several citizens have contacted me with concerns about an upcoming event at the Amarillo Globe News Center. The event is called “A Drag Queen Christmas.” I’m writing to tell you that I share concerns, and I also want to provide you with information about how events are booked at the City’s public facilities.

"First, the City did not recruit this event to Amarillo. The event promoter contacted the City and inquired as to the availability of the Globe News Center on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. The space was available on the date requested and the promoter requested it to be reserved for this event. The promoter met every other requirement necessary to use the Globe News Center including providing references and paying a deposit.

"I share the concerns expressed by citizens about the possible messages and content of this show. However, the City can not refuse to lease a public facility to a person or group based on the content of the event. As long as the content does not violate any law or local ordinance, the City cannot restrict or police the content due to free speech rights.

"Citizens are asking if they can organize a petition to stop the show from coming. Of course, they can exercise their free speech rights and speak out against the show by a petition. However, a petition does not change the laws protecting free speech and access to public facilities and the City must abide by these laws.

"Another request is that the City place an age limit for ticket sales or persons attending the event. As discussed above, the City does not review or police the content of events and is not in a position to recommend or set age limits for events. Event promoters set these limits based on their knowledge of the content of the event.

"I ask for your help in communicating this information to any person in our community that has questions or concerns about this event. I am praying that this event will give our city an opportunity to engage with people who do not know Jesus and don’t share our beliefs. I pray that our kindness and compassion will be attractive to them as they visit our city and that it will lead to questions and curiosity about our beliefs. Most of all, I’m praying that those who don’t know Jesus or His grace will meet Him in Amarillo and be changed forever. I hope you will pray with me for these things.

"Please call or email me if you have any questions or I can help in any way."

The City of Amarillo communications department confirmed that Mayor Nelson sent the letter to local churches, but the city would not comment further on this issue.

Jimmy Witcher, senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church, confirmed he was also involved in a meeting with Nelson on Nov. 9 concerning these types of events in the city.

“I am very concerned about this type of event being held in our city and the harmful impact it will have on children allowed to attend. While I support freedom of speech as a privilege afforded us by our Constitution, it does not allow for the violation of our children’s innocence. We have a responsibility to protect children from sexualization and exploitation. 

“At the November 9 meeting, we discussed possible ordinance options our city can look into that seek to preserve our children’s innocence. We had a productive meeting, and I am hopeful our city leaders will identify solutions that would protect children from attending these types of events in the future,” Witcher said.

Ronny Jackson, our Texas 13th Congressional District Representative, has also weighed in on the show coming to Amarillo.

“I just learned there will be a drag show coming to Amarillo where young children will be allowed and encouraged to attend.

“This is sick. Children should not be allowed to attend events like this. This needs to be shut down down immediately.

"Tax dollars shouldn’t fund this in Amarillo or anywhere. Shame on every Democrat for cheering-on these sick people. This needs to be banned now," Jackson said.

Amarillo LGBTQIA organizations are upset with the way the situation is being treated by local church officials and Mayor Nelson.

“I feel like we do not question anything of a performance of art. When we have a lot dancers who wear risqué outfits or when we have figure skating when they wear risqué outfits, and they also lift women in the air where they have to put their hand very close to their crotch.

"They should stop using God as a weapon, because nowhere in that Bible does it tell them to judge people. What it tells them is to love people," said Sam Burnett from the Amarillo Area Transgender Advocacy Group.

“We believe that the drag queen show was an entertainment event and that as such, it is past all the requirements of the city that all the requirements of the city have been placed for public performance, and of course, people will have different opinions and views about it and will choose to either attend or not attend based on their interests and that includes parents who will decide whether the show was appropriate for their children,” said Joan Urban, board member of the Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Jorden Garcia, vice president of Panhandle Pride, said “we’re not as progressive as we thought that we were."

"Are we shocked by this? Actually, no. I mean, we’re seeing this across the nation, but for now to hit home. It’s a little bit too close to home because we thought it wouldn’t happen here. And that’s sort of what caught us off guard.

“This is art that is coming to Amarillo It’s just passing through its art that some people have never seen before. And it’s a chance to get out and to educate yourself and immerse yourself in something that you’ve never seen before. It’s just, it’s just a great way to be educated on the world outside of Amarillo," Garcia said.

Ashton Hammer, president and co-founder of Smile Big Texas, said "we’re deeply saddened by the response our mayor has made regarding her stance on Amarillo’s LGBTQ community.

“Our community is and has been hurting for years due to the daily discrimination and backlash that we face simply by existing. It’s been a stressor for sure, but I can say that none of the response that we have received is surprising, honestly.

“It’s entertainment, it would be no different than going to the Nutcracker. There are men there in makeup, so I don’t see any difference. I think we see gay and we see men in dresses and that’s where the line is drawn," Hammer said.

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