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Rock Springs resident expresses drag show concerns to council

Rock Springs Broadway Theater

• ‘I just want to fight for the kids’


By Trina Dennis Brittain
Rocket Miner
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs resident Laura McKee returned to city chambers to discuss her concerns for an upcoming New Year’s Eve drag show, which will take place at the Broadway Theater in downtown Rock Springs on Dec. 31.

McKee had appeared before the Rock Springs City Council on Oct. 17 to oppose the inaugural family drag story at the Broadway Theater, which was held on Oct. 19. 

Author Tara Lipsyncki, a Salt Lake City, Utah, native, read their first published children’s book, “Letter from the Queen.” About 50 people were attracted to the event.

McKee, a local foster parent who is currently taking care of four children, was worried about the influence the event would have on impressionable kids.

Now, McKee is worried about children attending “Drag Me to 24 — A New Year’s Eve Dragstravaganza.” The posters specified that the event will contain mature content and that parental discretion is advised.

She said that she’s been studying obscenity laws, adding that people have told her what they’ve seen at the drag shows. She told the council she had never been to a drag show and didn’t want to be at any of those shows.

She did not specify what people had seen at the drag shows, but she went on to say that she doesn’t believe children should attend a show that features performers in burlesque attire. She also pointed out that alcohol will be served one hour before the event begins.

“I just don’t understand why it can’t be like an 18-plus thing,” said McKee. “I just want to fight for the kids. I love kids.”

She added, “I love people. I want to help people. I have no ill will towards anyone. I just want to protect children from sexualization.”

She told the council that Rock Springs Mayor Max Mickelson had told her that the local authorities “won’t let certain things happen,” such as opening a “strip club.” She still questioned, “What’s going to happen at these shows?”

“Like the bathroom situation; they go in a bathroom, there’s a man dressed as a woman or whatever it is,” she said. “My mind doesn’t want to go there. It’s just a very big concern.”

Mickelson told McKee that the children being present at the event “falls under the purview of their parents,” pointing out that there isn’t much the city government can do.

“I would think the best thing for you to do would be to reach out to The Starling Company,” he suggested, saying that Kenny McCormack is the owner of the company.

McCormack is also the marketing events coordinator for the Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency, an organization that is operated by the city of Rock Springs.

“They’re the ones putting on the show. Sit down and talk to him. Ask him what it looks like. It’s a private event,” said Mickelson, mentioning that it wouldn’t be any different from attending a quinceanera or a wedding.

“It’s their space for that time.” McKee responded, “Well, to me, it’s different because it’s of a sexual nature.”

The only individual who was present to support McKee’s concerns was Sharon Hummel, a retired educator. She said she has done some research and wanted to share her personal feelings about “these things.”

She referred to a conversation she had with a child by the name of Kinsey. Kinsey had told Hummel that “children are all sexual.”

“I get it; they go through puberty,” said Hummel. “But they (the children) aren’t sexual.”

Hummel said that she attended the drag story hour in October. Since she wanted to know who they were, she visited with the drag queens. She reported that they were “pleasant,” and she socialized with other grandmothers at the event, too. She admitted to purchasing the book, “Letter from the Queen” and taking it home with her.

“I took home the book of this little boy that maybe was six years old. He liked to dance, but he was a boy and people made fun of him, so he became a girl,” she explained. “I feel that we should let them be children. Let them just play. It’s this sexual thing dividing them and putting these thoughts in their minds. I think it is a type of abuse.”

Rock Springs resident Shirley Cukale approached the podium. She suggested that Councilman Tim Robinson attend the New Year’s Eve drag show and give a full report to the council and the attendees. Robinson was absent during Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’ll go with him with blindfolds on, but I’ll invite him to go with me,” said Cukale. “He can see what’s going on.”

In October of 2022, Robinson starred in The Starling Company’s production of “The Rocky Horror Show” as Rocky Horror, Frank-N-Furter’s creation of a muscular man.

McCormack told Rocket Miner that he’d “love to have a conversation” with McKee anytime, particularly to show her that he’s a human being.

“I’m far more complex than she realizes,” said McCormack. “I’m also pretty cool!”

McCormack added, “My family raised me to have respect and be kind to everyone I meet, even if they’re blatantly disrespecting me. I’m going to continue exercising my natural-born right to express myself and creating space for others to express themselves.

“My existence is not inherently sexual nor political.”

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