Down Syndrome Drag Show Canceled at MI Art Fair

News: US News
by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  August 26, 2019   

Conservative business owner fears performers are being exploited

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. ( - A conservative Grand Rapids businessman is banning a Down syndrome drag show from his property.

Peter Meijer, grandson of grocery store magnate Fred Meijer and owner of the Tanglefoot building in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is under fire for refusing to host London-based Drag Syndrome.

The act was scheduled to perform on Sept. 7 during ArtPrize, Grand Rapids' annual art fair covering over 3.5 blocks with dozens of venues hosting exhibits of all kinds.


Meijer, who is running for Congress as a representative of Michigan's third district, said in an Aug. 19 letter, "[A]fter deep reflection on the nature of Drag Syndrome's performance, I cannot approve of their use of Tanglefoot's facilities."

He continued, "This is not a decision I have arrived at lightly. As the true nature of Drag Syndrome's performance became clear, I consulted with various relevant communities to ensure my decision was made as free of personal bias as possible."

He declared, "I spoke with parents of the differently abled, people who had family members with Down's syndrome, and members of the LGBTQ and artist community. In nearly every conversation, concerns were raised about the potential exploitation of the vulnerable."

Meijer adds that both he and the audience "cannot know … whether the individuals performing for Drag Syndrome are giving, or are in a position to give their full and informed consent."

Meijer is being slammed as "ableist" by LGBT activists.

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