A youth drag show fundraiser in Placer County has been canceled.
That’s after outcry from some community members over both the youth drag show, in general, and its originally scheduled location at Roseville High School.
“I think growing up Queer and depressed, you have this feeling of, like, hopelessness, and you feel like things are truly never going to get better,” said Isa Seoud.
Seoud is 21, but in her teen years, she was a member of the Landing Spot, a “non-religious support group for LGBTQIA+ youth and their parents in Placer County,” according to a website for the group….
Seoud is now a mentor with the Landing Spot.
“Finding the Landing Spot and having Queer elders and mentors I can look up to and feel like, ‘Oh, there is hope I can thrive. I will be OK,’ was huge for my mental health,” said Seoud.
Pastor Casey Tinnin leads Loomis Basin Congregational United Church of Christ and – through his church – founded the Landing Spot.
“There are very few places where Queer kids in this community have the ability to just be with other kids like themselves, and to just be in a space that is safe and supportive,” Tinnin said. “One of the reasons why the Landing Spot is so important is that it gives young people the opportunity to be a teenager, to establish healthy relationships, to learn how to communicate well with others…We must give them a future and a hope, and that’s what the Landing Spot offers them.”
Seoud knows this firsthand.
“I met Pastor Casey when I was 11 or 12 years old. I was in sixth grade, and I had just lost a friend to suicide because she was a lesbian and she was being heavily bullied. She did not feel safe in her community. She didn’t feel safe at school, at church. She just had no place to go,” Seoud said. “Then Casey came in, and he established this place where we could feel safe. We could feel welcome.”
Last summer, the Landing Spot hosted its first-ever summer camp for Queer youth and in two previous years held a youth drag show to raise money for that camp.
“It was standing-room-only, and those young people performed their hearts out,” Tinnin said. “I’ll never forget a mom saying at the end of that night, ‘Thank you for giving me my kid back.’”
That’s why this year, they looked for a bigger venue and found the Roseville High School theater, which community groups are able to rent – outside of regular school hours – for things like dance recitals and church services.
But then some community members learned the Landing Spot planned on holding a drag show on the school campus.
“Drag is a biological male who dresses up as the opposite gender in women’s clothing,” said Tanner Di Bella, president and founder of The American Council. “We look at this and say, ‘Well, what value do these teach children?’”
The Rocklin-based American Council is a Judeo-Christian advocacy group, Di Bella said.
“We advance values that are related to life, liberty, morality and family,” he said.
In a press release on Friday, Di Bella wrote, “Drag should not be an underage activity on a high school campus…The American Council has a family network of ~9,000 people in Roseville. We quickly emailed our stakeholders, letting them know of the event, and encouraged them to reach out to Roseville High School.”
The district ultimately decided to revoke the Landing Spot’s permit to hold the event, telling ABC10 in a statement they received “numerous complaints…causing significant disruption to the district’s daily operations. Additionally, there were concerns as to potential threats to the safety of students and staff….”
Full story at ABC10.