SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In two weeks Ozarks Pridefest will make a return to Park Central Square, but not without controversy from lawmakers.
Representative Jamie Gragg, who serves the city of Ozark, said in a statement the planned drag performance is too sexualized for a family-friendly event.
“Drag performances might be an expression of art, but not all art mediums are appropriate for all ages, and I question the wisdom of placing such forms of entertainment into public areas where it will be easily viewed by anyone without safeguards.”Rep. Jamie Gragg, District 140
Pridefest organizers posted to Facebook confirming drag queen Crystal Methyd would be performing this year, and that they would put on a family-friendly performance.
“I actually saw [Crystal Methyd] like a long time ago,” trans activist Lexi Mason said. “They’re super passionate about like helping the area and like serving the people here and everything, and they’re excited to perform for their community.”
Gragg also mentioned a letter from Attorney General Andrew Bailey regarding a time when Columbia Public Schools students were exposed to a drag performance.
“Drag shows are inherently sexualized performances. They are an outward expression of a desired sexuality and sexual identity. They are intended to draw attention to human sexuality in a manner that appeals to prurient interests.”Attorney General Andrew Bailey
“This is not going to be like a sexualized performance,” Mason said. “Crystal Methyd is a professional performer and will tailor their performance to the audience that they need to, and they know this is a family-friendly event.”
Mason has attended Pridefest in the past and described it as an all-age event.
“Just to like have visual representation of like people who are like you and everything is really positive,” Mason said. “I would highly encourage anyone to come.”
But, Gragg is still asking the City of Springfield and Pridefest organizers to reconsider this kind of event.
“It’s just very disheartening that people in your community want to do away with you,” Mason said. “If people are allowed to protest on the square for different causes and everything. Are we going to limit their rights to expressing themselves on the square in a public space when just because they don’t agree with what we’re putting on at the square?”
“Hate and bigotry will never deter us from celebrating our community. Now more than ever, we need to gather, support one another, and celebrate diversity and inclusivity. We remain vigilant in our proactive efforts to ensure the safety of our community, and we understand the importance of ensuring our public, all-ages events are suitable for everyone, including families and children.”Greater Ozarks PrideFest and The GLO Center
Pridefest is scheduled for June 10 at Park Central Square in downtown Springfield.