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Organizations ’upset’ after letter from Amarillo mayor on drag show

Amarillo KFDA-TV 11/19/2022 Alyssa Riggs

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In a letter sent to some Amarillo churches, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson addressed concerns regarding the event “A Drag Queen Christmas” coming to the Amarillo Globe News Center.

Mayor Nelson explains how events are booked through the city.

“The City can not refuse to lease a public facility to a person or group based on the content of the event,” said Mayor Nelson in the letter.

Organizations ’upset’ after letter from Mayor Nelson on drag show © Provided by Amarillo KFDA-TV Organizations ’upset’ after letter from Mayor Nelson on drag show

She then says she is praying for the community to engage with people who do not know Jesus.

Some LGBTQIA organizations in Amarillo say they are upset about the way this was addressed.

“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.

The Amarillo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship says one of its core principles is the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It is an open and affirming congregation that supports the LGBTQ+ community and welcomes them into the church.

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

Garcia says the event could be educational for the Amarillo community.

“This is art that is coming to Amarillo,” said Garcia. “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.”

A fairly new organization, Smile Big Texas, says it will remain a beacon of hope for the community and hopes this incident will shed a light on the uphill battle it faces as an advocate for the community.

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

Hammer says “A Drag Show Christmas” is not provocative but something to enjoy.

“It’s entertainment, it would be no different than going to the Nutcracker,” said Hammer. “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.”

In response to our inquiry, City of Amarillo officials said Mayor Nelson did send the letter to local churches. The city says there will be no further comments on this issue.

We reached out to 15 churches in Amarillo for comment on this issue.

Trinity Fellowship did release the following statement:

I received Mayor Nelson’s email on November 3 regarding “A Drag Queen Christmas” being held at the Globe News Center, and I immediately reached out to schedule a meeting with her.

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. 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.

Mayor Nelson and I met on Wednesday, November 9, and 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.

Jimmy Witcher, Senior Pastor, Trinity Fellowship Church

Organizations ’upset’ after letter from Mayor Nelson on drag show © Provided by Amarillo KFDA-TV Organizations ’upset’ after letter from Mayor Nelson on drag show
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