In recognition of June as Pride Month, the Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) will host Baddies Who Brunch, a Drag Show event, on Saturday, June 25 at Independence Event Center. This ticketed event will offer brunch and high energy performances that will involve plenty of audience participation.
Despite the event being completely sold out, BREC has received mixed reviews from the public, with many residents supporting this event, while others questioning a public entity funded by tax-payer dollars holding this type of event. While BREC appreciates the positive feedback for showing support for all communities, we have chosen to address the questions and negative comments about hosting this type of event.
In an official statement, BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson said,
“Like most, if not all of our programs and events, Baddies Who Brunch was developed based on recreational trends that we see across the country, locally and from community feedback. It’s how we developed our popular Art Unwined event and redeveloped our new summer camp program, how we brought the first surfing stimulator machine to the state, how we developed dog parks and everything we do. The objective, as with all of our programs and events and parks in general, is to get people out of the house, active and social as they gather with other members of the community that may share similar or different interests. Based on the overwhelming positive comments on social media, those that I have personally received, and the fact that the event sold out two weeks in advance, we see that there is certainly an appetite for the event in our community.
Contrary to comments we have received about the event being “inappropriate,” no inappropriate content or behavior is expected or allowed. The staff planning this event are the same hard-working and dedicated professionals who are responsible for planning our programs and events across the parish for children, adults, seniors, those with special needs and more. I stand in support of our staff who have worked very hard to put together an event that is tasteful and true to the nature of drag shows, while keeping with BREC values. This is not the first-time men will perform as women at Independence Theatre. Ironically, the roots of drag shows can be traced back to inequity, as men began dressing as women as early as Shakespearean times since women were not allowed to perform on stage. Part of our values include offering inclusive programs to patrons of all ages. While all ages are welcome to attend this ticketed event with parents, we do recommend that participants be at least 16 years old, as the event was promoted to target adults interested in this type of program. We did not openly promote this program to children; however, we will certainly not turn away any parent who wishes to share this experience with their child.
BREC, as a government agency that recently passed its own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy, is obligated to serve all because we receive tax dollars from all. As such, we provide programs and events for all regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, gender, age, or sexual orientation.”
For more information on BREC’s Baddie’s Who Brunch event or any other events, visit brec.org.