An April 17 post on the Pueblo Community College Facebook page announces, "Spring Fling starts in 1 hour! Come by the Student Center for free food, music and fun!" But the music was cut short in at least one case: A drag show on the bill was stopped after some members of the audience complained.
Afterward, more gripes surfaced, including claims that the plug-pulling was an overreaction to a performance that didn't violate the event's "family friendly" atmosphere. Photos, a video and details below.
It's not as if the performers, including Nicole Craig, mischaracterized the presentation. According to KOAA-TV, they had permission to put on the show as long as they kept the content G-rated, and they tried to do so.
Here's a screen capture of Craig lip-syncing along to Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" from the KOAA report:
The look matches images from Craig's Facebook page, including this one:
Also on hand at the Spring Fling was a Beyoncé impersonator said to have been dressed in white slacks, a gray sequin top, a wig and "a pair of nice heels."
Nonetheless, the performers were asked to leave the stage after grumblings from a number of attendees, including parents of children who were on hand. They're said to have been escorted from the campus afterward.
PCC president Patty Erjavec insists that the college supports diversity, and even told KOAA that she could envision featuring a drag performance in another venue, where only adults were present. But plenty of people commenting on the story feel that the school went too far. Here's a post from one person on hand:
I was there and watched two of the performances. They were very family friendly and had it not been for the announcer pointing out that they were in fact in drag, no one would have been able to tell. They were nice and very polite. If you really want to crack down on drag, why not get after those clowns that kept pulling male audience members and putting them in a dress for their show? Either ban both, or keep both, just don't say it's wrong on one and not the other.
Another supporting message notes that the performers were "given permission to have their 'DRAG' show. They are mostly students of this Community College. They should have been allowed to finish."
The writer adds that she wasn't surprised by the gripes, since "I also heard complaints about the student that was dressed as a clown. She scared some people. I had asked if I could dress as a clown, and was turned down, but they still had one anyway."
A far different point of view was expressed by another commenter:
I am a gay man in Pueblo and I completely support this decision to remove this drag show from public venue. Drag shows belong in gay bars, or maybe a gay pride festival, but NOT in a public setting with children, or in front of adults that are not there to see a drag show in particular. It is my opinion that drag queens are mentally ill people with a severe sexual identity disorder, and i don't think that needs to be put on display. In the gay "scene" drag queens are the lowest of the low of gay society, most are drug users, and most put ads on Craigslist for promiscuous sex. I personally and obviously do not like drag queens, and I do NOT want them representing ME as a gay man, ESPECIALLY at a PUBLIC venue.
Click to watch the KOAA report on the controversy. It may not look like it's there, but we swear it is.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
More from our Politics archive: "Jared Polis wants investigation into abuse of LGBT immigrants in detention."