Business owner defends drag show; others concerned about ‘lewd behavior’

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, September 20, 2022

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Following criticism on social media and from a few people who spoke ahead of her during public comments at the Albemarle City Council meeting Monday night, Tiffany Dahle defended her decision to have a drag event at Tiffany’s at the Boardroom in downtown Albemarle.

Growing up in a family that “embraced second chances and free thinking,” she carried with her the idea, introduced to her by her parents, that anyone could be anything that they wanted in life.

While she has seen “an ugly side of our community that I truly hoped didn’t exist” over the past few weeks, especially with some of the hateful Facebook comments about the upcoming show, she said she’s also found hope “because I’ve also been introduced to the once hidden part of my town, the ones that felt they didn’t have a voice or support system for way too long.”

She said the support for her event has been so overwhelming that in less than 24 hours the two shows sold out, with 140 people set to attend.

“Your voters said it, and they said it loud and proud,” she said. “We want our downtown to be known for the arts and unique events and diversity and inclusion.”

The restaurant portion of the business will be closed Saturday.

Before Dahle spoke, two individuals made their voices heard about their strong opposition to the event.

Albemarle resident Joshua Ballinger and Friendship Baptist Church of Stanfield pastor Clint Lewey were both concerned about the potential harm the event would cause to young children. Ballinger said the event originally had no age requirement.

According to a July 30 Facebook post by Tiffany’s at the Boardroom: “We did not originally advertise an age for our #dragbrunch as we feel adults should be able to make decisions for themselves and the people they are personally responsible for. But in light of the recent post and chatter it has been decided that the event on Sept. 24th will be 18 and up ONLY.”

Everyone in attendance will be required to show their identification, according to Dahle.

“I believe that we should all protect children,” Ballinger said Monday night. “I think that if you see someone placing a child in harm’s way, even if it’s not your own, then it is every citizen’s reasonability to speak out against the harm being done to that child, regardless of the topic.”

Ballinger also alleged the show would violate definitions included as part of the city’s ordinance around sexually oriented businesses.

“I’m not saying that a group of consenting adults should not be able to enjoy their preferred type of media,” Ballinger said. “I’m stating that children have no place around it.”

He asked the city council to put forward a resolution that would “discourage or prevent children from being exposed to adult sexualized media in our community.”

Dahle said the event will be devoid of lewd behavior and sexual content. It will be a “classic, general drag show with evening gowns and wigs and lots of makeup and singing Dolly Parton and things like that,” she said. “There will be laughter and mimosas, but there will not be a striptease at all.”

Dahle on Wednesday said she has spoken with Albemarle Police Chief Jason Bollhorst and was told there will be enhanced security and protection around downtown during the shows.

“There is security in place so we feel confident and safe,” she said.

In emailed comments to The Stanly News & Press, Bollhorst mentioned the department is aware of a “potential demonstration” that will likely take place on Saturday protesting the shows.

“As with any demonstration, APD will ensure that it remains orderly and does not disrupt the regular activity of residents and visitors,” he said. “We will not tolerate violence or damage to property by anyone.”

Lewey said he was concerned about what he described as the “lewd behavior” that he associates with drag, but offered no specifics of such behavior. He said the event does not align with Stanly County’s “family values,” though he went into no specifics about what those are.

He cited scripture to describe this type of behavior, without detailing any specific verses or books of the Bible, using terms such as “vile affection,” “against nature” and “abomination.”

In reference to some of the concerns about DKO Entertainment, the company that will be putting on the show, Dahle said it is hired to produce “a specific type of entertainment and each time they’re hired, they have a conversation with the person and ask what they’re looking for.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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