Memphis museum cancels drag show as armed protesters show up

MEMPHIS, TN (WREG) – The Museum of Science and History in Memphis, Tennessee, apologizes to guests after canceling a drag show scheduled for Friday night “due to the presence of armed protesters.”

The MoSH, known to many in Memphis as the Pink Palace Museum, was to host the Memphis Proud drag show and dance party on Friday. The museum has several exhibits focusing on LGBTQ history this month, including an exhibit on the historical Stonewall Inn police raid and subsequent protests. Friday’s drag event was advertised on flyers as family-friendly.

A demonstration against the event was organized in the parking lot of the museum. Police were on the scene Friday night, and the museum canceled all programming out of an abundance of caution.

MoSH released a statement, reading in part:

“The safety of our customers and staff is our primary concern. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of all in attendance, the Museum of Science and History has made the decision to cancel all Friday night programming due to the presence of armed protesters. The early closure resulted in the cancellation of two events scheduled for the evening, a laser show in our planetarium and the Memphis Proud drag show and dance party. We want to apologize to our customers and the Memphis community for the disruption.

Museum of Science and History, Memphis

Nationally, the subject of drag shows for families and children has been criticized, with some deeming them inappropriate for younger audiences. Earlier this summer, BNC News reported the far-right focusing on drag events, particularly hours of drag stories in libraries.

According to NBC News, mentions of “Drag Queen Story Hour” increased 777% in just one month.

Drag Queen Storytime is a brand of events that have been running since 2015, with the organization saying it aims to help children “see people who challenge rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be authentic”.

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