Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Midwest, Queer, Solidarity, Trans
Report from Kansas City, where community organizers successfully defended a drag show against far-Right harassment.
Christo-fascists in Kansas City, MO gathered near the Midland Theater to protest “A Drag Queen Christmas.” The group “Conservative Moms of KC” organized a small gathering across the street from the Midland, where they attempted to harass incoming attendees to the show and film those going in. They were organized by Rachl Aguirre, a one-time candidate for District 8 of the Missouri State Senate. They kneeled on the concrete and tried to pray the gay away, screamed, “Repent!,” at those across the street and sent members to harass and film attendees. The local branch of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) was also in attendance. The TFP is a self-described “Counter-revolutionary” Catholic organization classified as a “virulently anti-LGBT group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Local leftists received intelligence of their upcoming protest roughly 24 hours before the show, and were able to organize a robust community defense team in less than a day. Local anti-fascists braved the cold to stand in solidarity with the performers and attendees, forming a defensive line outside the theater to deter harassment by the fascists and safeguard guests as they entered the venue. Representatives from the Kansas Trans Guard, People’s Spark and other organizations held the line against attempts by far-Right protesters to personally approach the venue and film attendees, blocking their line of sight and pushing them back as necessary.
The Kansas City Police Department was, as expected, completely useless in protecting the event and its attendees. Though officers had initially instructed “Conservative Moms of KC” to remain across the street, they refused to intervene when Rachel Aguirre and other protesters crossed the street to verbally harass incoming attendees and film them without their consent. KCPD actively tried to prevent the anti-fascist organizers from blocking her way, stating, “She has a right to walk on the sidewalk.” The defenders closed ranks and held the line, retorting with, “Well, we have a right to stand where we want. If she wants to walk, she’ll have to go around.” Malicious compliance prevailed, and the protesters eventually withdrew back to their side of the street. KCPD also allowed TFP to set up their protest line on the sidewalk immediately bordering the venue, where attendees were lining up to enter the show.
The outpouring of support from the event planners and attendees, however, more than made up for the cold and confrontation. Anti-fascist demonstrators worked in close coordination with event staff, helping to facilitate entry for incoming guests by keeping far-Right protesters back and guiding attendees around confrontations. Many attendees were quick to express their gratitude for helping keep the event safe. Their thanks, and the impotence, willful or otherwise, on the part of KCPD is a poignant reminder that we are the ones who keep us safe. Fascists will doubtlessly continue to protest drag shows and other LGBTQ+ spaces in the coming months. Yesterday is proof that deterrence goes a long way towards protecting those spaces, and ensuring that hate has no place in this, or any city.