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Anti-LGBTQ activists protest after being enraged at Disney-themed drag event

Anti-LGBTQ parents, community activists, and school board candidates protest the Boo Bash.
Anti-LGBTQ parents, community activists, and school board candidates protest the Boo Bash. Photo: Screenshot

A group of around 60 people gathered in Encinitas, California earlier this week to protest a family-friendly queer Halloween event.

TransFamily Support Services’ Boo Bash first made waves late last month when a flyer for the event appeared on the Encinitas Union School District’s community events platform, Peachjar. The flyer describes Boo Bash as “the queerest free Halloween party for youth and families,” and promises games, trick-or-treating, a costume contest, and a family-friendly drag show.

Parents reportedly took issue with the event, specifically the drag show and some of Boo Bash’s sponsors, which include Fabulous Hillcrest, Rich’s San Diego, SD Loyals, North County LGBTQ Center, and San Diego Pride. An earlier version of the flyer also listed Align Surgical Associates, which provides gender-affirming care, as a sponsor.

“A lot of people are just generally not comfortable with the idea of pushing drag queen shows on little kids but separate and apart from that I think the biggest concern with this event are the sponsors,” said Paul Jonna, an attorney who says he was contacted by concerned parents. “We submitted a public records request to find out more about their involvement, their communication with these sponsors and sort of this event.”

Parents, community activists, and school board candidates gathered Tuesday evening outside the Encinitas Union School District’s headquarters to protest the event.

“It is very clear what the agenda is,” said Joleene Burts, who home schools her children. “It is not a family-friendly event and the district is lying to our children and these are our children.”

According to a September statement from the school district, Boo Bash is a “non-district event” and all digital flyers distributed through Peachjar feature a disclaimer noting that “distribution of this flyer does not imply endorsement by the Encinitas Union School District.”

But TransFamily Support Services director Kathie Moehlig told San Diego’s NBC7 that the flyer would not have been delivered to Encinitas parents via Peachjar if the district had not approved it. The frequently asked questions section of the platform’s website clearly states that flyers submitted to Peachjar by community organizations are “routed to the appropriate school district(s) for approval.

On Tuesday, the district released a statement claiming the flyer had been removed from the platform three weeks ago because it did not meet approval criteria.

Moehling said that the flyer remains on the Peachjar sites of four other schools. She also dismisses the idea that Boo Bash’s Disney-themed drag show is inappropriate for kids.

“These drag queens are going to be performing a Disney villain show and they are going to be dressed appropriately to Disney villain themes, just as you would see any other entertainer wear who is doing entertainment for young children,” she said.

Despite the protest, Moehling said that Boo Bash will take place as scheduled on October 29.

“We’re not going to back down from doing what we know is right and appropriate to support these youth and their families, just because some people think they can use it as their mega piece to get talking points and get attention,” she told KGTV in September.

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