SLO Enterprises Responds to Hateful Messages About Drag Incident

A disgruntled San Luis Obispo business owner has allegedly been sending threatening messages to local agencies about scheduled drag events and shows, sparking widespread concern throughout the Central Coast community.

On Nov. 11, Highwater SLO, a restaurant in San Luis Obispo, posted a statement on its Instagram. 23 draws attention to the comments and messages it receives about its monthly drag brunch. A local business owner reportedly accused the restaurant of “exposing children to what is essentially sexual activity,” the statement said, adding that it was “their life’s work” to prevent the venue from hosting family-friendly drag events.

The same individual reportedly sent similar messages to other local business owners and community leaders, even causing some businesses to cancel upcoming drag and LGBTQ+ events. With the recent increase in far-right groups targeting cross-dressing incidents, coupled with last month’s mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Highwater co-owner Robin Wolf believes action needs to be taken.

“I’ve been to and been involved in more drag events than I can tell you, and it’s only in the last four or five years that I’ve seen any drag like this, and actually in the last year, it’s saturated Already,” Wolfe told SFGATE.

Highwater first received an Instagram direct message on Nov. 11 from the individual, the owner of a local contracting business. 17. They reached out to voice concerns about the upcoming drag brunch, in which Highwater encouraged attendees to “bring families,” Wolf said. Brunch is a 21+ event, but I personally mistakenly think that the wording of the restaurant is to invite children to come. Wolf said the restaurant hopes to host all-ages drag shows in the future, but so far, none of the drag-themed events allow minors to participate.

The person then sent several threatening messages to Hayward, vowing to “spend the next few weeks and as much money as possible” to ensure that the all-ages cross-dressing event at Hayward is widely publicized . They claim to have spoken to the founder of the anti-trans hate group Gays Against Groomers, saying the group offered to use its large Instagram following to “publicize” Hayward’s incident.

“We will make your organization famous for inviting kids to drag shows, I promise you,” the person wrote in a message to Highwater, which was shared with SFGATE.

The individual also threatened legal action if their business suffered “damage of any kind” as a result of Highwater’s posts.

Wolf said she and others who have received similar messages have agreed not to disclose the person’s name or company. However, what they have agreed to do is work together to ensure LGBT+ events up and down the Central Coast now have an extra layer of protection.

Since hearing the news, Highwater and other local businesses formed a group called Queer Event Safety SLO to provide safety resources and guidance to organizations looking to host drag and LGBT+ events.

“We’re not going to stop what we’re doing because of bullying, but we definitely want to keep everyone as safe as possible,” Wolf said.

The nonprofit arts organization Art and Soul SLO, one of the businesses involved in queer activism safety, also received threatening messages from the individual. According to Faith LeGrand, founder of Art and Soul, the group had to cancel its monthly all-ages drag night due to threatening messages sent by individuals and another person associated with Gays Against Groomers.

Tickets for the event were sold out before being cancelled.

“I feel defeated, helpless, and genuinely terrified of having another drag show for all ages in San Luis Obispo,” Legrand said in a statement sent to SFGATE.

Wolfe said that beyond these recent news, the community response to the Hayward cross-dressing incident has been overwhelmingly positive. She added that many local parents have asked her when she can take their children and teens to the show.

“If nothing else, it definitely reinforces our desire to have more family-friendly drag and LGBTQ positive events,” Wolf said.

Source link