A conservative forum, hosted by controversial drag queen Lady Maga, will not happen Friday night, as the organizers were told by the venue that they no longer are willing to accommodate them. This is the second venue to cancel the event in as many weeks.
Touted as “Utah’s first LGBT Conservatives Forum and Drag show,” the event was to take place at 50 West Club & Cafe at 6 p.m. tonight.
“The venue called me and said that there has been a petition to the building owners and powerful business owners in downtown Salt Lake City who said they would lose business if they held our event,” Ryan Woods, the person who performs as Lady Maga, said. “I am shocked and heartbroken and I don’t even have words. This is bullying and silencing free speech.”
The president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans, Frederick Luchycky, was slated to share “a message of hope and inspiration about his immigrant father and the importance of being openly conservative,” the event page on Facebook read.
Two Jewish-American drag queens from San Francisco, Ariel and Zane Dmaaj, made the trip to Salt Lake to speak and perform.
Organizers are now looking for another venue to hold the event, but likely on another night.
A counter-protest to the event, organized by other Salt Lake area drag queens, including Vega Starr, was canceled after garnering over 300 participants.
Starr wrote that violence was threatened on “both sides” of the event, prompting them to cancel.
“When she [Lady MAGA] announced her first event it accompanied a very mean spirited and completely unfair attack on the LGBTQ+ community, so we were right to be angry,” Starr wrote.
Now, they said, there was no reason to protest, as “Her event had about 40 confirmed or interested guests. Our counter protest had about 300 going or interested.” They also believed that giving Lady Maga more attention was more dangerous than ignoring it.
Woods said it was important that the event goes on, which is why they are looking at new venues and a new date.
“Our objective is to HOLD the event, no matter who can come,” Woods said. “This has become a serious fight against censorship, bullying, and intimidation.”