Recent Wind River Pride drag show well attended by both proponents, protestors

    (Lander, WY) – The Wind River Pride (WRP) Spring Break in Wyoming Drag Show took place on March 23, which brought equal parts 2SLGBTQIA+ advocates and protestors alike.

    The performance was at the Lander Art Center, located in the 200 block of Lander’s Main Street, and served as somewhat of an off-season event leading up to WRP’s busier, summer event season, WRP representative Debra East told County 10.

    The event sparked a collection of protestors, about 50, who first took to Centennial Park earlier during the day, then moved directly in front of the venue itself when it was time for the show.


    Protestors held signs that read “Stop Sexualizing Children,” “Groom Dogs Not Kids,” and “Say No to Kids at Drag Shows in Wyoming,” all while collectively singing religious hymns.

    Two counter protestors were present as well, one of whom who waved a Pride flag while marching up and down the sidewalk, and another who played music on a speaker while shouting they were “dancing for Jesus.”

    County 10 spoke with two of the protestors, Karl Falken and Michael Barrow, who stated that the group was not a part of any specific organization and was comprised of folks who “don’t want children to be exposed to drag shows,” and “don’t want children to be sexualized.”

    Both also stated that while they are against drag shows in general, they felt the need to protest this one specifically because it was marketed as an “all ages” event, and had concerns about children attending the show.


    The poster for the drag show stated that the event was “alcohol free” and “open for youth 13+,” with East later telling County 10 that attendees younger than 13 were allowed to be present as long as they had an adult with them.

    While some drag shows may lean toward more adult-oriented subject matter, organizers said they specifically made the choice that the event was going to be alcohol-free, and geared for attendees 13 and older, which performers were made aware of well before the event.

    In response to those concerns about age appropriateness, East stated they believe that allowing willing children to attend drag shows is beneficial to helping them navigate their 2SLGBTQIA+ identity.


    “People who are LGBTQ and 2 Spirit are also ‘of all ages,'” East shared. “There are a lot of children who are in puberty, who are asking questions and trying to find their way, and if there’s not a place for them to meet and be safe with other people within their age range and people who are allies, it’s much harder on them to feel safe and secure.”

    “We don’t feel we are a threat to children, we feel that we are making a space for them to find out more about their neighbors and perhaps themselves.”

    Susan Streeter, an attendee in support of the show, said that the event was a “band of people supporting their friends,” and overall, “just the happiest, friendliest group.”


    Streeter went on to say she has attended many drag shows in New York, and would call this show “tame” by comparison with “nothing sexual” about any of the performances that night.

    While most of the protestors were out on the street, some later entered the venue, where they proceeded to protest with “prayerfulness” in seated, standing and kneeling positions, East explained.

    “In our effort to be part of the community we allowed them to come in,” East shared, under the condition that they not display their protest signs and remain quiet during the performances.

    Any who did not comply were asked to leave.

    East added that it is an “unusual thing in our community” to have to ask people with protest signs to leave an event, and to have to “set up in a secure manner to manage a situation like that.”

    After hearing opposition to the show from a concerned citizen at a City Council meeting, East said WRP expected to have protestors show up.

    In anticipation of any potential opposition, WRP had a “security group” check waistbands for weapons, and also asked attendees to not photograph or take video once inside.

    East went on to say this a “very challenging time” for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on a local state and national level, and cited the recent attack/death of 16-year-old non-binary Nex Benedict as to one of the reasons why extra security precautions were taken.

    “We had to take another level of attention to allow for security and make our best efforts for safety in that space.”

    No violent or confrontational interactions were reported to have occurred at the show, neither by event organizers or in the Lander Police Department Call log issued the next day.

    However, in that call log there was a report of “vandalism” in the form of papers with “derogatory” comments printed on them, which were taped to the wall of a building “on the 200 block of Main Street,” where the LAC is located.

    East told County 10 that WRP had “no info to convey” in regards to that call, but we later confirmed as much with Streeter, who was working at the LAC the day the papers were discovered.

    Streeter commented that the papers were printed and posted on the back of the LAC building where the parking spots are located, and that one of the papers said “Heil Hitler” on it.

    She went on to say she couldn’t recall exactly what was on the other papers, as they were “so hateful” that she wanted to push the thought of them out of her head.

    Neither Streeter’s response, the LPD report, or East’s comments confirmed if the papers were posted by any of the protestors who were in attendance the night before, or if they were posted in direct connection to the drag show.

    The papers were ultimately disposed of by LPD.


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