Yorkville drag show debate turns into shouting over religion’s place in civic affairs at city council meeting – Shaw Local


YORKVILLE — The ongoing debate over drag shows in Yorkville continues to escalate into a verbal battle over the place of religion in civic affairs.

Once again, the Yorkville City Council meeting on October 11 turned into a shouting match.

This time, fans of the shows attended the meeting. They accused Molly Krempski, an opponent of the drag show, and her supporters of bigotry and religious extremism.

“Religion has no place in government,” Plano’s Ashley Quiles said, often turning to face Krempski. “We have a religious plurality in this country. You are infringing on the rights of others.

Quiles accused Krempski of harassing city officials as well as drag show performers.

“Leave them out of your crazy beliefs,” Quiles said. “Give up. Pray. Go home.”

Krempski confronted Mayor John Purcell and aldermen for the fourth consecutive council meeting, charging that drag shows at two Yorkville businesses violate city code and will have dire consequences for the community.

Twice, after Purcell asked Krempski to end his remarks, the mayor suspended the meeting despite Krempski’s objections.

“You’re going to be held accountable for this,” Krempski told city officials.

Sara Channell, originally from Yorkville, now from Millington, congratulated the council.

“We are proud of Yorkville for its commitment to being a city where diversity and tolerance overcome bigotry and religious extremism,” Channell said.

“We support all members of our community, including LGBTQ people, and it’s important that people who are too afraid to speak up know they are represented,” Channell said.

Krempski distributed to each council member a packet of photographs of social media posts by drag queens.

“They have deep wounds that cloud their judgment,” Krempski said.

When Krempski asked the council to open the package, no one moved to do so.

“You refuse to watch,” Krempski told council members directly, seeking dialogue with them. At this point, Purcell asked the council for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

After Channell’s comments, Krempski spoke again, addressing accusations of bigotry.

“These people are hurting,” Krempski said of drag queens. “My heart breaks for them.”

Krempski quoted the Bible and invoked the Ten Commandments, before Purcell asked him to yield the floor, then suspended the meeting again.

Later, Krempski spoke again, repeating an assertion from a previous meeting that divine intervention is imminent, warning of “God’s call to obedience” and a “stern call to justice”.

The issue concerns the occasional drag shows held at Pinz Entertainment Center, 1211 N. Bridge St., and Southbank Original Barbecue, 129 E. Hydraulic Ave.

City code prohibits the display of buttocks, but Purcell, who is the city’s liquor control commissioner, previously said he has spoken with the businesses and they are now complying with the ordinance.

Krempski and his supporters first protested at the August 23 council meeting, two days after they protested outside Pinz, which was hosting a sold-out drag show for patrons 21 and older.

The show in Pinz on August 21 featured drag queens who were practically covered from neck to ankle in colorful, expensive dresses. No buttocks were exposed. There was no stripping, twerking or girating.

The largely female audience at the midday show handed out the drag queens’ dollar bills as the performers paraded between the tables.

Channell, during his remarks in support of drag shows, said a person only has to visit local water parks to see buttocks on display.

“So maybe the prescriptions need to be looked at, to remove the ‘butt’ language, before they then go after those places for indecent exposure,” Channell said.

Throughout the meeting, Purcell sought to keep the discussion civil. When whistles and objections from both sides of the debate were shouted into the audience, the mayor told them to stop.

Clients eagerly give advice to drag performer Aleyna Couture during the "Brunch Flirty Funday" at the Pinz Entertainment Center in Yorkville on August 21, 2022.

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