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Children’s Drag Event Prompts Zions Bank to Pull Funding From Boise Pride Festival

Published: September 8, 2022
A child dances on stage during a drag show as part of celebrations for Pride month on June 25, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Zions Bank has announced it will be pulling funding from the Boise Pride Festival after it learned of a child focused drag event.(Image: ALLISON JOYCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Zions Bank officials have decided to pull its sponsorship from the 2022 Boise Pride Festival after learning of a planned Drag Kids performance scheduled to go ahead this Sunday.

In a statement posted to social media on Sept. 7 officials with the bank said that they were “unaware of the event’s activities involving children/minors” and as such are refusing to participate or fund the 2022 event. 

“Over the years, Zions Bank has supported a variety of Pride events because they are an important part of our support for our LGBTQ employees and allies and are representative of our efforts to foster an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace and community,” the bank wrote adding that, “This support for all of our employees and communities remains unchanged.”

However, the bank explained that after learning that an event focused solely on children was planned they made the decision to withdraw their participation in this year’s Boise Pride celebrations and that they have communicated as such to the event organizers.

In a tweet, posted on Sept. 7, Boise Pride responded to the banks withdrawal saying that they were “saddened” to learn of the banks refusal to support the event and lashed out at the bank alleging that that the bank has “chosen to respond to clearly anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and actions.”

Boise Pride argued that “Pride and inclusivity do not begin at age 18,” adding that “It is important for families and LGTBQ+ people of all ages to see themselves reflected in society, on screens, and on stages in positive, affirming ways” and that they “stand behind” its entire Pride entertainment line up.

As of Wednesday evening, Zions Bank was no longer listed as a sponsor on the official Boise Pride website.

The event, titled “Drag Kids” is scheduled to go ahead this Sunday at 12:45 p.m. and is described in an official “Pride Guide” as “a drag show like none other the Drag Kids range from ages 11-18 and are ready to bring it all to the Boise Pride Festival Stage! Come and cheer them on as they bring drag to the younger generation!”


Dorothy Moon, the newly-elected Idaho GOP Chairwoman, supported the bank’s decision and in an emailed statement called on all “concerned Idahoans” to “disavow this attack on Idaho’s children and invest their sponsorship dollars” elsewhere.

She lashed out at Idaho’s Democrat party who she says believes “it is not only okay but laudable to encourage children to engage in public displays of sexuality,” adding that, “For those who have been following the radicalization of the Democrat party, this should come as no surprise.”

Idaho Democrats were quick to respond, calling the controversy “hateful rhetoric, bullying and extremism.”

Idaho’s Democratic Chair, Lauren Necochea, issued a statement on Wednesday saying, “We support the Boise Pride Festival and its celebration of diversity and inclusion. Idaho Democrats will continue to fight for the right of every Idahoan to be proud, love openly and live authentically.”

Necochea lashed out at her Republican counterparts, condemning them for ‘targeting youth while distorting the truth for political gain.”

In an interview with Boise State Public Radio, Donald Williamson, executive director of Boise Pride Festival, said that all the performers in the Drag Kids event have “enthusiastic” support from their parents and that one of the participants is set to perform alongside their mother.

“The only perversion and sexualization of this performance are coming from extremists and people like Dorthy Moon, who is twisting it into something it is not,” he said.

He said that the festival lists a total of 89 sponsors for the 2022 events, including Albertsons, Boise Cascade, Micron and Simplot, and that he actually had to decline sponsorship requests this year due to not having the capacity to accommodate them adding that he was not concerned that others may follow Zions Bank’s example.