MOBILE — Several Mobile residents addressed the city council Tuesday requesting an ordinance banning drag shows in public venues where minors could be present.

Sharon Argiro was the first to speak. She voiced concern that children are being groomed into believing any sexual behavior is acceptable. Argiro believes the LGBTQ movement ramped up in the city last year with the appointment of two LGBTQ advocates.

“Exposing children to drag queens normalizes the fetish and attempts to overcome children’s natural resistance to the perverse,” she said. “The promotion of the city of Mobile of the human rights campaign to groom our children has accelerated since the appointment of two liaisons from the Human Rights Campaign to city government in February 2022.”

The advocates work directly with LGBTQ services and advocacy groups to relay concerns to the office of Mayor Sandy Stimpson. Argiro claimed the decision to hire the two was made without council knowledge and despite appeals from the religious and conservative community. The motivation behind the decision, Argiro said, appears to be to earn points on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Mobile ranks at number three on that list, behind Birmingham and Montgomery.

Concerned citizens began coming forward after the announcement of an LGBTQ Pride Month event planned by LoDa ArtWalk. The monthly event has a different theme every month and for June will include a drag show on June 9.

“The people of Mobile do not want this,” she added. “Yes, a small minority wants it, but historically, Mobile has been a city of citizens with a Judeo-Christian ethical foundation who do not want their city government assets used to promote that which undermines the Judeo-Christian, ethical foundation they are trying to instill in their children.”

Melissa Gates spoke on religion and how the Holy Bible teaches Christians to protect children.

“If you profess to be a believer in Jesus Christ and you allow this drag queen mess to go on in these city parks where our babies are being exposed to this evil, shame on you,” said Gates. “Shame on you!”

Five citizens came forward to address the council opposing the events.

Public parks are open to citizens and visitors. Previous ArtWalk themes have been Native American Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month.

Deputy director of communications for Mobile Jason Johnson told 1819 News the city is part of ensuring safety and appropriateness at events.

 “MPRD’s [Mobile Parks and Recreation Department] staff engages directly with any entity putting on an event or performance in a public space or in conjunction with a city event to ensure the performance and accompanying music aren’t explicit or vulgar,” said Johnson. “This is standard practice.”

Mobile police will also be on the premises, and volunteers have signed up to provide additional security.

All events in the city undergo a permitting and reservation process, and Johnson said the city must be fair.

“Cathedral Square is a public space, and our public spaces are open to all citizens,” Johnson added. “There are processes that govern the use of public property and facilities, but the City of Mobile does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected characteristic. So long as the City of Mobile owns Cathedral Square, it will be open to everyone.”

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