FAIRHOPE — Prism United, a non-profit for LGBT youth, is holding another drag brunch in Fairhope on June 15, and residents are calling on the city to answer some tough questions.

In 2023, the brunch caused a stir in Fairhope after a flyer for the event called it a "family-friendly" event for all ages. The privately owned restaurant where the brunch was planned added age requirements for the show after a group of people came forward concerned that children could be exposed to sexually suggestive moves by dancers.

This year's event, however, will not be at a private venue. Prism United is hosting the drag brunch at the Fairhope Civic Center. The non-profit is renting the venue from the city, and now more residents are coming forward with concerns.

Citizen Zach Miller wanted to know if there is a process for approving events at the Civic Center or if any group can rent it.

Miller met with a supervisor and asked about renting the Civic Center on behalf of two fictitious but reprehensible groups. He intentionally made the groups sound as outrageous as possible. His goal was to find out if the city would allow satanic or extremist groups to rent the facility.

"I just simply wanted to test the city see if they were going to be consistent across the board and rent to whomever," Miller told 1819 News.

Miller did not get an answer right away and later withdrew his requests. After discussions with the supervisor, he said he believes the only issue that could stop a group from renting the public facility would be safety concerns.

Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the city cannot discriminate against groups who rent the Civic Center and follow the rules.

"The Civic Center is available for rent to any organization that pays the fees and meets the rules of the rental ordinance," Sullivan told 1819 News. "The City cannot discriminate against any social, civic, or business group who wants to privately rent the Civic Center. There are fees and rules associated with each rental that must be followed by all renters."

When asked specifically if the city would allow satanic groups or the KKK, Sullivan repeated that sentiment.

"As I am sure your [sic] aware, governmental entities may not discriminate against a social, civic, church or business group that requests to rent a facility for peaceable assembly purposes," she said.

Fairhope Civic Center Alabama News
Fairhope Civic Center. Photo: Erica Thomas.

The Civic Center Auditorium's rental fee is $585 per day and $50 per hour after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Still, Miller believes there is a moral and ethical aspect at play.

"I am a conservative Christian," said Miller. "But there's something much more than that. This is not just because I'm morally or ethically against it – which I am – I say that because drag queens and things in that area are part of queer theory. Queer theory queer is not gay in this instance. It's not in the same context. Queer theory is a very specific theory that came out of critical theory studies and it is essentially against anything normal. It wants to disrupt normative behavior in society."

Miller said the theory is against societal norms such as the nuclear family and normal behaviors. His concern is the ramifications and possible impact on future generations.

"The nuclear family, the male-female dichotomy, the husband-wife dichotomy," he explained. "Anything that is normal in American culture, including Christianity. It wants to sow chaos throughout all pillars of society."

As the father of four children, Miller said he wants to protect all children.

"It's not just men dressing up in dresses and having fun and dancing," he added. "That's not what I see. I see a revolution. I see them trying to infect children."

"It's a football playbook on how to subvert society," he continued. "And I've got to give them where credit is due. These people care. They organize and they care and they organize extremely well."

The June 15 drag brunch is part of Prism United's Pride Month celebrations. The group is also holding the Pride Festival on June 1 at Fairhope Pier and South Beach Park.

A Christian group is participating in a month-long prayer walk in Fairhope called "The Jericho Walk," leading up to Pride Month.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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