Raleigh — This week, the NC Bar Association canceled a drag trivia night fundraiser featuring drag performers, saying the event—at which any NCBA member attendance would be purely voluntary—would be seen as a political statement. The event was organized by Milan Pham, who volunteers on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) committee of the NC Bar Association.
ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation’s legal director Kristi Graunke shared the following statement on the NC Bar Association’s decision to cancel the event:
“At a time when LGBTQ rights are under attack in the legislature and extremists are using every tool at their disposal to advance homophobic and transphobic rhetoric, the Bar Association’s partisan decision to cancel this event perpetuates the discrimination LGBTQ+ people face in North Carolina. As a public-serving legal institution, the Bar Association has a responsibility to counter inequality and discrimination in our profession and to support gatherings where its LGBTQ+ members can experience community and belonging. Drag is a form of creative expression that has a long and storied history within LGBTQ+ communities and in the broader community, dating back at least as early as the performances of Shakespeare. While the NCBA claims to value diversity and inclusion, this decision tells its LGBTQ+ members that they are not welcome.”
The event will still take place on June 8 and will now be hosted by Pauli Murray LGBTQ Bar Association, with the location to be determined soon.