To the Editor:
On September 18, Pine City had its 2021 Pride in the Park festival. The festival had music, vendors, and short films. But, the pièce de résistance of this year’s Pride was Pine City’s first ever drag show. Froggy’s Bar housed the show and Queen Malibu Casey was the host for the evening. The show featured wonderful dancing, beautiful costumes, fun music, and enthusiastic performers. The crowd ate the show up like candy. This evening was the closest experience to a nightclub in the Twin Cities any Pine City local could experience without the hour-long trek south.
This show was a huge step for town’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, others) community. Though Pine City has been actively hosting Pride festivals since 2005 (apart from 2020), it is no secret that many members of the community still do not feel welcome within the town. Be it family members, neighbors, even educators, there is still a huge hostility towards the queer community. Froggy’s took matters into its own hands, and it opened up its doors and its stage to truly celebrate the community in a way the town has never seen before.
Several hundred people came to the show. The old, the young, the straight, the queer. I believe it was a liberating night for many. The show was open to 18-year-olds and older which allowed for such a turn out. Younger members of the community were able to continue their Pride festivities and strut their stuff in their hometown without fear of slurs or strange looks.
Pine City has been in a stagnant state for a long time. The opportunity for progress has never been more prominent. We can only hope that the town continues on this path of loving each other and ourselves, and allowing each other to express their truths in safety. As John 13:34 says, “ A new commandment I give to you: love one another. As I have loved you.”
Recently, however, there has been a notable shift. From the Pine City Heritage Player’s choice of “Mamma Mia” was another sensational step towards love and tolerance with their welcoming environment for everyone, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the pick of the show itself. “Mamma Mia” dealt with several controversial, progressive topics, but the community accepted the show with astonishing warmth and enthusiasm. Pine City’s new found use of the arts to offer a welcoming, supportive environment for the queer community.
Well done Froggy’s, Heritage Players, and all others striving for change. You should all be proud.