Lauren Boebert Freedom Caucus

In this file photo, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, we’re extending a personal invitation. Come to a drag show in Durango.

You owe us this much. You made Durango ground zero for that kitty litter nonsense talk in early October that rattled our educators. And we are, in fact, your constituents.

Please, come. Tell us what this hating on drag queens is all about.

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It’s taken us a while to write about the Club Q shootings in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19, when five were killed, 22 injured and many others traumatized. A lot of false starts. Media outlets around the world shared the news. Then came Boebert’s tweet the next day.

“The news out of Colorado Springs is absolutely awful,” she wrote. “This morning the victims & their families are in my prayers. This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly.”

Response was quick and fierce. Boebert was called out for being disingenuous after previously elevating hateful speech against the LGBTQ+ community. Her position on guns would not have kept a weapon out of the shooter’s hands.

Some of Boebert’s tweets include: “Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars,” and “We went from Reading Rainbow to Randy Rainbow in a few decades, but don’t dare say the Left is grooming our kids!”

Boebert tweeted an ad for a drag queen story hour from Ouray Public Library. “Sending a message to all the drag queens out there: Stay away from the children in Colorado's Third District!”

On KOA radio, Boebert equated drag queens reading stories to children – and drag shows, like the one at Club Q – to strip-club acts.

She said, “We don’t need 6-year-old children putting dollar bills in the thongs of grown men shaking and twerking in front of children ... that is child abuse.”

That never happened.

Drag queens reading to children was meant to promote reading, tolerance, diversity and inclusion. Granted, it’s not for everybody. But there’s no burlesque or provocative outfits that one might see at an adults-only show. There’s no twerking or sexualizing of children. Boebert’s rapid-fire attention on drag queens is threatening – as if they are predators – making them targets of those who might actually believe this.

Sadly, we can’t write off her words as being ridiculous. They are too dangerous.

Now, Boebert is doubling down, saying she will stand up to what she sees as grooming or sexualizing children. Now, that’s something that actually happened at churches, most recently uncovered within the Southern Baptist Convention.

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We realized why we struggled with this editorial. It came from a moment in local drag alien Aria PettyOne’s spot on Rocky Mountain PBS in June 2021 from Durango’s Starlight Lounge, which is not a gay bar. PettyOne talked about a poster out front with a drag queen. It tells people “I can come here and be safe,” said PettyOne, who became visibly emotional.

That’s it. Club Q was supposed to be safe space, a haven for anyone. A place for drag as performance art, comedy, beauty and transformational magic. A complete display of confidence, outrageousness, entertainment and joy.

PettyOne, whose name in real life is Jake Riggs, has a message for Boebert.

“Just leave drag performers and the rural Queermunities alone already,” she said. “You see what your words and vendetta have helped cause in our own state. We don’t do anything to negatively impact the area at all. We raise money for nonprofits, we support local businesses, and we’re just giving everyone the freedom to be themselves.

“Since Boebert loves to talk about freedom, she should respect ours.”

Boebert, leave drag alone.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president of LGBTQ+ group GLAAD, talked with Newsweek about a direct line from anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric to anti-LGBTQ+ violence.

“Politicians like Rep. Boebert push baseless lies, which spread like wildfire and go unchecked on social media and right-wing media,” Ellis said. “Boebert's vile anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, and her glorification of guns and violence is a toxic combination. Researchers who study extremism say it’s like a hot pan on a burner with popcorn kernels ready to pop: Anyone listening can be encouraged to pop.”

Hateful words have harmful consequences. They can drive unhinged people to murderous acts. Boebert, just stop it.

Come to a drag show. The invitation is open.

Durango Herald Editorial Board

Read the original article here.

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