GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A congressional candidate running against Rep. Justin Amash has decided a drag show with people who have Down syndrome can’t perform at his building.
Drag Syndrome was supposed to perform Sept. 7 at Tanglefoot on Straight Avenue SW for Project 1 by ArtPrize, but Peter Meijer has decided against the performance.
In an Aug. 19 letter sent to ArtPrize, Meijer said he “cannot know, and neither can an audience, whether the individuals performing for Drag Syndrome are giving, or are in a position to give, their full and informed consent.”
The group putting on the show, DisArt, said the show will still take place that day but hasn’t determined where. The Grand Rapids-based group disputed Meijer’s claim that his decision was to protect the performers.
“It didn’t matter that these Artists have long-standing, successful, internationally acclaimed careers. It didn’t matter that after founding Drag Syndrome, one of the original members was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II,” a DisArt statement says. “It didn’t matter that another performer has won a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. It didn’t matter that the artists are also accomplished actors and filmmakers, painters, dancers, singers and most important of all, human beings.
“None of that mattered in the decision to exclude their performance. All that mattered was their disability.”