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’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Responds to Alleged Ban in Philadelphia

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Oct 7, 2013
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Mimi Imfurst’s counter protest at Philadelphia’s Gay Pride parade in June
Mimi Imfurst’s counter protest at Philadelphia’s Gay Pride parade in June  (Source:Facebook)

Outspoken drag queen Mimi Imfurst, best known for her three-episode run on the third season of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" has taken to social media with an open letter to protest an alleged ban on her participation in Philadelphia’s OutFest National Coming Out Day festivities scheduled to take place Sunday Oct. 13, in the city of brotherly love.

In a lengthy letter on Mimi Imfurst (born Braden Chapman)’s Facebook page, the drag personality claims that Outfest event promoters, Philly Pride locked her out of the event.

"This year, the bar in Philadelphia that I work for: Voyeur Nightclub and its brother bar Woody’s were invited to perform, under the stipulation that I not be apart of it," the letter reads. "I have been informed that I have been banned from OUTFEST by the Philadelphia Gay Pride committee for my actions at Philly Gay Pride in the summer. "

The actions in Imfurst’s letter refer to her attempt to the block view and audio of a small group of anti-gay activists by holding a large rainbow flag in front of the protester and muffling his small speakers with her purse.

Imfurst’s open letter of the incident, which was also distributed via email as a media alert from New York based promotions and public relations firm Spin Cycle recounts the event as follows:

"Every year, without fail, there is always a protest group with ’GOD HATES F*GGOTS’ signs and a loudspeaker in tote. [..]This year was no different. At the end of the parade route there were 2 or 3 of these protestors. I grabbed a large rainbow flag from a stranger and held it up blocking the protestors from a view of the crowd. The attendees of the pride celebration applauded my actions. A Philly Gay Pride official was upset that my counter-protest was getting attention and had a police officer ask the stranger I borrowed the flag from to ask for it back [..] The Philly Gay Pride official asked me to walk away and said that they didn’t want me to draw attention to the protestors. I explained to them that it was my First Amendment right to counter-protest and that I do not believe in walking away [..]

I then noticed that the protestor’s speakers were smaller then my purse. Knowing how sound works, I held my purse 2 inches away from their speaker (being sure not to touch it) and in doing so, my purse reflected the sound back away from the crowd so that they couldn’t understand a single word the protestor was saying. This drew more attention and the Philly Gay Pride official called for another person to get the police. THEY THEN THREATENED TO ARREST ME for being DISORDERLY in PUBLIC! That’s right! THE PHILADELPHIA GAY PRIDE COMMITTEE TRIED TO HAVE ME ARRESTED FOR STANDING UP FOR GAY RIGHTS AT AN LGBT EVENT."

Imfurst’s letter goes on to harshly criticize Philly Pride’s alleged actions against her and eventually calls for the organization’s executive director, Fran Price to resign.

"I am calling for the immediate resignation of Franny Price and any other board members of the Philadelphia Gay Pride Committee and those who stand behind her. This is not just about me. They have also banned other members of our community for similar, unsound reasons. [..] I am also calling to action my fellow drag queens to stand with me in solidarity by not donating your time to Philly Gay Pride. I am asking my sisters to reject any invitations to perform on their stage at OUTFEST. To do so will only endorse their actions."


Reactions to Imfurst’s call to arms against Philly Pride on social media have been mixed with entries on social news site Redit running the gamut from critical:

"[-]SaltandVinegarAddict 4 points 2 days ago
The thing Mimi’s totally missing is the particularly negative and passive-aggressive way she tried to deal with it. Drawing attention to herself and the Christian Protestors all in one fell swoop. "Let’s have equality by blocking out dissenting opinions!" is essentially what Mimi was saying by doing this. She made a scene and looked the fool for it. Pretend they don’t exist, Mimi. Their little failed protest wasn’t hurting anyone, except for perhaps your ego."

To mixed:

"[-]KibethySorry ’bout it 5 points 2 days ago
She just wants to be seen as this big subversive hero martyr, outspoken voice ringing true in the darkness of OPRESSION!!!! Like that time she compared the drag race cruise not wanting them in drag to Anne Frank’s and Rosa parks’ struggle. It’s like.... girl sit down and be quiet you held a purse in front of a megaphone you are not Martin Luther King.

Honestly, I want to like Mimi, but there have been way too many of these stories about her not getting along with this person, or being removed from this place etc. After awhile, I think this reflects more on her than it does everyone else."

To supportive:

[-]gardenofcucumbers 5 points 2 days ago
Really? In this situation, her reaction seems justified. [..]
Not every Mimi Imfurst post requires calling her out for personal issues, throwing shade, and downvotes."

Imfurst came to national attention as a short-lived but noteworthy contestant from the third season of LOGO’s hit television reality contest "RuPaul’s Drag Race." An entry on RuPaul’s Drag Race Wiki recounts Imfurst’s most memorable moment on the show when she fell into the bottom two against India Ferrah, which resulted in a memorable, high-drama lip-synch. During the middle of the number, Mimi went down to the judges panel with Indiah, ducked underneath Indiah, and picked Indiah up on her shoulders, carrying her back onto the main stage.

At the end of the lip-sync, RuPaul quoted to Mimi, "Drag is not a contact sport." And India Ferrah got to shante and stay.

Comments

  • DerekJA, 2013-10-08 05:44:01

    I’m sure that we all dislike the rantings of the haters. But if we seriously are demanding our rights to be respected, then we have to respect the idiots’ rights to free speech as well. No matter how difficult it may be. In my opinion, for now, she was wrong to do that and brought very negative attention to the Gay community at large. It sounds like he’s just a self-centered, loud, noise boy. But, I’m not convinced that banning him is right either. Now his right to free speech are being muffled as well. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just say’n.


  • Michael Thornton., 2013-10-08 08:26:04

    Ridiculous. Shame on Philly pride. What’s this B.S. About these protestors should be left alone. It is our constitutional right to counter protest. These people show up and spew hate and vitriol at our events and you guys think this drag queens ego is out of line? Grow some balls. I remember when a small group of our people got together and blocked out Fred Phelps at Matthew Laramies funeral. These people may have a right to protest, but they have to deal with the repercussions of there own actions. Personally I think we need to stand up to them more. They scare the younger gays at our events and they need to be dealt with. (without violence)


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