SAN FRANCISCO — A local gay recovery group will not be holding its annual fall fundraiser in the social hall of the Castro neighborhood’s Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church after officials said that no drag queens would be allowed.
For the past couple of years the Castro Country Club has held its event in the church’s social hall and had drag queens as entertainment.
As a statement issued by the country club’s board of directors explained, the new no-drag-queen policy at the church is simply unacceptable.
“The Castro Country Club had planned to hold our third annual Harvest Feast on October 20, 2012, at Most Holy Redeemer Church, where we have held this and other events in the past,” the directors said in a statement.
But that changed when the club was notified by the church last week that they would not be able to hold the dinner if any drag queens were part of the program, the board said.
“In previous years, we have had Ivy Drip and Heklina, both well-known entertainers and community fundraisers, serve as emcees of the event, and we felt we could not in good conscience abide by the church’s new policy,” the board said.
“It is our organization’s policy to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Drag queens are no exception. We are currently seeking an alternative venue for the Harvest Feast, which provides an important source of revenue for our annual budget,” the board added.
Individual members of the country club declined to comment and referred to the board’s statement.
Most Holy Redeemer’s new pastor, the Reverend Brian Costello, confirmed over telephone on Monday, August 6, that drag queen performers and emcees are no longer permitted to participate in events at the church.
Costello said that during a telephone conversation with a Castro Country Club representative, when the topic of drag queens came up, he told the person, “That is not going to work under the present circumstances.”
“I said work with me. You can still have the dinner. You can have a regular emcee, but not drag queens on church property,” Costello said.
It seems the directive is the result of several factors.
“I am the new pastor,” Costello added. “There is a new archbishop. The archdiocese told me straight out, ‘No drag queens.'”
The change of policy at Most Holy Redeemer was greeted with charges of discrimination, homophobia, and calls for compromise, even reconciliation.