AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In a letter recently sent to church groups around the city of Amarillo, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson commented on the upcoming “A Drag Queen Christmas” event at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, outlining the way events are hosted at public facilities and expressing her opinion regarding the event.
According to the Amarillo Civic Center’s website, the Amarillo stop for the “A Drag Queen Christmas” tour is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. The website states that the all-ages event is hosted by Nina West and features Todrick Hall. At the event, attendees will be able to vote for various winners, fan favorites and “Miss Congeniality.”
Nelson said in the letter that several citizens have contacted her with concerns about the event, stating that she shares concerns. In the letter, she outlined the process of how events are booked at the city of Amarillo’s public facilities.
Nelson said the city did not recruit the event to Amarillo, stressing that the event promoter contacted the city and requested that the Globe-News Center be reserved for the event on Nov. 29. The letter stated that the promoter met the requirements necessary to use the facility, including providing references and paying a deposit.
“I share the concerns expressed by citizens about the possible messages and content of this show,” Nelson said in the letter. “However, the City can not refuse to lease a public facility to a person or group based on the content of the event. As long as the content does not violate any law or local ordinance, the City cannot restrict or police the content due to free speech rights.”
In the letter, Nelson said citizens are asking her if they can organize a petition to prevent the show from being hosted in Amarillo. Nelson said that while they “can exercise their free speech rights and speak out against the show” through a petition, that process would not change free speech laws and access to city of Amarillo’s public facilities.
In response to a request that an age limit be placed for ticket sales and for those attending the event, Nelson said the city does not review or police the content of events and “is not in a position to recommend or set age limits for events.”
“Event promoters set these limits based on their knowledge of the content of the event,” Nelson said.
At the end of the letter, Nelson asked leaders of the community to communicate this information to those who have questions or concerns about the event.
“I am praying that this event will give our city an opportunity to engage with people who do not know Jesus and don’t share our beliefs,” Nelson said at the end of the letter. “I pray that our kindness and compassion will be attractive to them as they visit our city and that it will lead to questions and curiosity about our beliefs. Most of all, I’m praying that those who don’t know Jesus or His grace will meet Him in Amarillo and be changed forever. I hope you will pray with me for these things.”
Read the letter in full here:
In a response to requests for comment, officials with the city of Amarillo verified the letter but said there was no further comment available. EverythingLubbock.com’s affiliate, MyHighPlains.com, has also reached out to Murray & Peter Present, the production company that puts on the “A Drag Queen Christmas” event, along with area churches for comment.
Jimmy Witcher, the senior pastor at Trinity Fellowship Church, confirmed that he received the letter from Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson about the “A Drag Show Christmas” on Nov. 3. Witcher went on to say that he had a meeting with Nelson on Nov. 9.
Witcher provided the following statement:
“I am very concerned about this type of event being held in our city and the harmful impact it will have on children allowed to attend. While I support freedom of speech as a privilege afforded us by our Constitution, it does not allow for the violation of our children’s innocence. We have a responsibility to protect children from sexualization and exploitation.
“At the November 9 meeting, we discussed possible ordinance options our city can look into that seek to preserve our children’s innocence. We had a productive meeting, and I am hopeful our city leaders will identify solutions that would protect children from attending these types of events in the future.”Jimmy Witcher, Senior Pastor at Trinity Fellowship Church