Drag Syndrome show met with protesters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Drag Syndrome, a drag show that features performers who have Down syndrome has been met with much controversy.

On Sunday, the second day of performances at the Wealthy Street Theater, they sold out the show.

“No matter where they come from, you should be able to express who you are,” local drag queen Scarlet Ostara said.

The troupe also had a line of protesters out front.

“I’m protesting because I think it’s exploiting them,”  protester Lori Jaron said.

Protesters say those who are performing may not be fully informed of the decision they are making.

Performer Horrora Shebang said this in response; "They need to first off.... back off. This is my decision. Not your decision.”

The group was supposed to perform at Tanglefoot studios, until owner and congressional candidate Peter Meijer banned the group, releasing a statement to Fox 17 earlier in the week, saying:

"The notion that I am discriminating against the disabled is profoundly offensive- DisArt is exploiting individuals with Down syndrome to further an activist message, plain and simple. I have spoken with dozens of West Michiganders, from disability advocates to parents of children with Down syndrome, and they share my profound disappointment that these promoters are trying to gin up controversy at the expense of the vulnerable.

If this was a political decision, I would have gone public immediately. I didn’t. I handled this privately because I care about doing what’s right. But DisArt leaked my letter to ArtPrize so they could sell more tickets, and here we are."

The ACLU and DisArt are pursuing a civil rights investigation because of Meijer's refusal to let the Drag Syndrome show go on.

Project 1's ultimate goal is to start conversations and push the artistic envelope. The event includes additional installations commissioned by DisArt.

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12 comments

  • C

    When are the bleeding hearts going to figure out that much of the protest is because of the message, not the messenger. They aren’t protesting the actors with Down syndrome. They’re protesting the aberrant message of the production itself.

    • bawieland

      So what you’re saying, Jim, is that people with Down Syndrome should not be allowed their own decisions, unless they happen to be decisions that you approve of. And you say this because you’re defending their rights as people. Um. OK. You certainly sound like a genuine defender of the rights of people with disabilities.

  • stop the madness

    I’m still stymied on what the heck someone can see entertaining about a person dressing up in the Opposite Sex clothes and dancing around on stage, down syndrome or no down syndrome.

  • jeffinputnam

    So, let’s see… People get together to perform in a show and people who don’t know them and who aren’t involved are making determinations for the performers because they know better? My, that is silly.

      • Douglas Wilhelm

        Dace and C, you hit it right on the head. If they were there to play the violin, or perform the ‘Nutcracker Suite’, there would have been ZERO protests. It has always been about the (now popular) LGBT theme.

        • grerp

          It’s about sexually exploiting people who cannot consent, something the Left seems extremely upset about unless it’s children or disabled people in drag, apparently. No one would have a problem with a theatrical production starring actors with Down Syndrome as long as the content isn’t sexual or otherwise exploitative. Why are drag queens so intent on having access to children all of a sudden?

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