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A London, Ont., bar known as the city’s only gay club is facing backlash from across North America after canceling an all-ages Academy event because it was scheduled to feature the artists draw.
Lavish was booked to host the annual Western student competition on Thursday, but pulled out after learning drag queens would perform. It has caused an uproar in London’s LGBTQ2+ community and beyond, with the bar receiving what it calls hateful comments.
“We’re not asking them to open all drag shows to all ages, because that would be inappropriate, but I don’t think they should restrict all drag shows to 19 as well,” said Michael Brain, who act like Woozy Dazey drag queen. .
Frog isn’t directly involved with the Pride of the West event, but he has some drag queen friends that should.
Josephine Davey-Young, manager for Western PrideUSC, an advocacy and support service of the University Student Council for LGBTQ2+ students, responded to CBC London’s request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
“USC believes in gender and sexual expression for all ages, and we proudly support drag shows, including with our own student drag artists, every year,” Davey-Young said.
“We are disappointed in Lavish’s decision not to allow drag at the all-ages event, but we understand that our goals for the Pride Ball do not match Lavish’s management principles.”
Bar director John Banks said they backed out of the event because Lavish didn’t want to put underage students in situations “where something sexual or inappropriate could happen.”
“We don’t want to put a small child in a place that they don’t want to be in. There can be many dangerous situations in the event of all ages when there is an older adult or pulling a child and someone who is years 17. the old did not want to be exposed to that.”
Any event at Lavish that has an artist — whether they’re hip hop, ballet or drag queens — will be a 19-plus age event, Banks added.
“This is licensed as a DJ and dance. We were not told that there will be drag queens. If it is the kind of work that brings people in, then it is a 19-plus event,” he said.
The bar gave the students who ran the event a full refund.
But the cancellation and policy change has set backlash from people who accuse Lavish of being transphobic and not a safe space for the LGBTQ2+ community. Many say the limits on drag services in the United States are raising concerns around Lavish’s stance.
“I’m surprised at Lavish for taking this position. What about the children who have the idea that they need to see that they have a place in the world? What about their protection,” one person wrote on Instagram.
“Because it’s not sexist. No work is sexist unless you decide to be,” said another Instagram post.
As a business, Banks said, he knows he “can’t please everybody.”
“If you don’t support us, that’s fine. We’re not going to beg people to come in if they don’t like our policies and procedures.”
Lavish used to bill itself as “an urban LGBT2Q+ community space in the heart of beautiful central London,” but Banks says she wouldn’t describe it that way now.
Listen | London Morning’s Rebecca Zandbergen spoke to Woozy Dazey on a US state ban on drag shows:
After Tennessee passed a law restricting drag shows in public places, some feel the precedent will find a foothold in Canada. The Queen drew local Michael Brain, who plays Woozy Dazey to tell London Morning how things work in places on this side of the border.
London morning8:18Cause players feel cold from USA
“We’re a safe place for everyone — it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight,” Banks said. “We’re not a gay bar. We’re a nightclub that also caters to the gay community.”
Lavish was purchased by the current owners about two years ago. It quickly tried to get licensed as an adult entertainment venue so it could present “unique performances that will target the LGBTQ community,” owner Zoltan Harasty said last year.
Senior sports license denied.
PrideUSC told the CBC that they have been put together to work on hosting their Pride event on campus in the next two weeks.