(LifeSiteNews) — A pro-family leader in South Dakota challenged Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s response last week to a “kid-friendly” drag show that took place on a state college campus in November. On Wednesday, Noem rejected the suggestion that her administration wasn’t protecting children and hinted that her critic should be fired.
A drag show advertised as “kid-friendly” and invited “the whole family for an evening of entertainment” took place at South Dakota State University (SDSU), according to a November 16 news report. The event, sponsored by a college student organization called the Gender and Sexualities Alliance, drew criticism for “encouraging crowd members to bring $1 and $5 [bills] to tip performers.”
Norman Woods, director of the Family Heritage Alliance Action, wrote an open letter to Noem on December 19, criticizing her administration for the lack of action to protect children from drag shows such as the one hosted by SDSU.
“I’d encourage the Family Heritage Alliance to evaluate the purpose of your organization. Is it to promote family values — or is it to attack the most conservative governor in the country?” Noem wrote in a December 21 response addressed to the organization’s board members. “I believe it is the former and urge you to focus your efforts on bringing our shared pro-family message to the people of South Dakota. I suggest you find an executive director who agrees.”
Noem stated that her team would “no longer work with the Alliance until and unless its executive director chooses to act professionally.” She also highlighted the work that she has done as governor to promote and protect families, including a law to “protect fairness in girls’ sports,” signing executive orders against the teaching of critical race theory in schools, publicly supporting the Dobbs decision, and having “included funding for family-focused programs in my budget every year.”
The governor emphasized that she is “taking action on the specific issue” that Woods brought up. Notably, she removed the state’s Secretary of Health after learning that this department had a contract with the Transformation Project, a group that promotes “transitions” among gender-confused youth.
Noem added that she will “continue to support legislation that builds stronger families” and shared that after communicating with members the Board of Regents has “already changed its policies for events, suspending any youth participation in events that take place at our Board of Regents institutions.”
Noem’s response was sparked by comments addressed to her by the Family Heritage Alliance Action’s executive director.
“Innocent children should not be exposed to drag shows. Full stop,” Woods wrote in his letter. “I have no doubt you agree with me and that you would never want to your [sic] grandchildren exposed to such vulgarity like we saw in the video footage from the South Dakota State University’s ‘kid friendly’ drag show.”
“It may be legal for a student group to host a drag show on campus for those 18 years or older, but according to South Dakota law, code 22-24-30, it looks as if it may very well be illegal for children to attend such repulsive, child-grooming events.”
Woods added that he is “greatly disappointed” that Noem and her team have “taken no action to rectify this situation or to ensure that drag shows for children never happen again on South Dakota soil.” He included three questions at the end of the letter, one of which asked the governor if she would “work with the Attorney General’s office to discover the interpretation” of a law that could prove that drag shows qualify as “disseminating material” that is “harmful to minors.”
Additionally, Woods asked if Noem would “actively work” to write and sign into law legislation that “protects South Dakota minors from future drag shows” and inquired whether she had communicated with the state’s Board of Regents and the SDSU president about the November drag event “to ensure our taxpayer-funded buildings are not used to harm our children in the future.”
All-ages drag shows have become a highly debated issue across the U.S. in recent months. Many of these sexualized events have been hosted by university clubs and promoted to minors. In August, a drag show featuring a performer dressed as a Franciscan friar and children in the audience took place at a Tennessee university. Last month, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee introduced a bill to prohibit drag shows in public places that children can access.
Another recent victory for those fighting the LGBT agenda was a Missouri town that successfully prevented children from attending a holiday drag show advertised as “family friendly.”
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