Culture

Cis Drag Queens Banned from Pride Event Because They Might Offend Trans People

Maybe complete and total inclusivity isn't as easy as it sounds.

The organizers of Free Pride Glasgow in Scotland have hit a snag in their mission to plan a totally inclusive event: Some activists think drag queens are offensive to transgender people, others think banning drag queens is offensive to transgender drag queens, and still others think allowing only transgender drag queens is offensive to cisgender drag queens.

Whoa.

Although drag performances had been part of Free Pride Glasgow for years, the event organizers announced in a statement on Saturday that they would not be allowing them this year because some transgender individuals found “some drag performance, particularly cis drag,” to be offensive because it “hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke.”

In the original statement, the organizers maintained that since they felt it would “not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans,” they would just cancel drag performances altogether. You know, just to make sure that no one would be uncomfortable.

One problem: The attempt at appeasing transgender people who are offended by drag performers wound up offending transgender people who are drag performers. Whoops.

So, the group changed its policy again:

“After a further consultation, trans drag performers will be invited to perform at Free Pride on the 22nd August,” read a post on the group’s Facebook page on Monday.

“The trans caucus and Free Pride as a whole thought protecting the privacy of trans drag performers was the most important thing, but trans drag performers have let us know that letting them perform is more important to them,” it continued.

All good? Nope. People are offended by this policy, too, because — you guessed it! — it’s not inclusive to the drag performers who do not identify as trans.  

The group’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments expressing disgust at the updated policy:

“You apologise to the trans drag performers you have insulted but are still blind to the cis performers who you have equally insulted,” said commenter Michael Harry Rosner.

“Great idea! Let’s be inclusive via the medium of discrimination,” said Boris Atlas.

Some even went so far as to accuse the group of breaking the law:

#related#“The Equality Act 2010 states you cannot discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sex,” Matt Cormack wrote. “If you are hiring performers you cannot refuse to hire them because of they are cis. You can ask to see their routine before hiring them to remove anyone offensive (I would fully support that) but this is going against all the progressive work LGBT people have fought for for decades.”

In fact, Free Pride Glasgow’s attempt at making sure the event was completely free of anything offensive wound up offending some people so much that they’re calling on everyone to boycott it altogether.

Interesting — it almost seems like it’s impossible to create a situation where you can guarantee that no one will feel offended or uncomfortable.

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