Tuesday, May 16, 2023


By Elizabeth Lee

A DRAG show that was scheduled to take place in Carlow town has been cancelled amid online abuse of the promoter.

TNT Promotions had organised a drag show to take place in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow on 26 May but pulled the event last week after online abuse appeared on the company’s Facebook page.

‘We would just like to shine some light on the cancellation of the drag queen event on 26 May in Carlow,’ said TNT Promotions on its Facebook page. ‘Our number one priority at any of our shows is to make sure that everyone involved is safe, which led to this decision. It’s a sad day in the world we live in that an event like this can’t go ahead. This event was always an over-18s event. It was an event for people to come and enjoy themselves. We do apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

The cancellation of the show attracted the interest of national media, with taoiseach Leo Varadkar condemning the online hate speech.

Cllr Adrienne Wallace told ***The Nationalist*** that the anti-drag queen sentiment is not indicative of how the people of Carlow feel. The town is home to one of Ireland’s few Gay Pride festivals, which is strongly supported by businesses, community groups and the general public.

“Ultimately, the decision to cancel the show was up to the promoters and the performers if they don’t feel safe enough for it to go ahead. You can understand it if they feel under threat,” said cllr Wallace. “We do know that Carlow is a very welcoming and inclusive community. We have one of the best Pride festivals in the country and the town is overwhelmingly inclusive.”

John Paul Payne, a member of the LGBT community and founder of the Carlow Pride Festival, said the hate speech against the organisers of the drag show has backfired because his organisation has been flooded with messages and pledges of support since its cancellation.

“This sort of (hate speech) is a new wave of disruption that they’re trying to bring to the LGBT community and it’s off the back of American hate campaigns. It’s ridiculous that people are up in arms about a drag show,” said John Paul. “If it was a Carlow Pride event, we would not have cancelled it, but the promoter can’t be blamed for cancelling either. It’s the haters who are to blame – this is what they want.

“We always stand up to homophobia and misinformation. Since this has happened, people have reached out to us in Carlow Pride in support. This has only made us stronger, but we need the support of our politicians, too. Our festival is taking place on 2 July and we have a range of family-friendly events that everyone is welcome to.”

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