By Jake Ingrassia for Channel 3 in Las Vegas, NV.
Drama over drag is taking center stage in a valley homeowner’s association after a community drag bingo event dropped the drag queen.
The drag bingo event planned for next month was supposed to feature local drag queen Rusty Waters, but the HOA board abruptly sent a memo to community members saying they’d made the decision to remove Waters from the event “based upon concerns voiced by some members of our community regarding Mr. Waters.”
Trilogy resident Cathy Smithweiss installed gay and trans pride flags outside her home to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community. She said she was outraged by the HOA’s decision and spoke out at the board meeting on Thursday. News Channel 3 was not permitted inside.
“I believe that there were some people here that are homophobic,” Smithweiss said, “We’ve now discriminated against people who are our friends and our neighbors.”
In a statement to residents, the HOA board said that the event was rescheduled “out of concern for the entertainer, and not because of the type of entertainment. The board claimed that the decision was not made in a discriminatory manner towards Rusty Waters, who they support performing at their community.
Cathy Smithweiss, a resident of Trilogy La Quinta, installed gay and trans pride flags all over her home She called on community leaders to reverse their decision at the HOA’s board meeting Thursday, saying, “We’ve now discriminated against people that are who are our friends and our neighbors.”
The HOA board issued a statement to residents saying that their decision hold the event with a drag queen was “Out of concern for the entertainer, and not about the type of entertainment…” and that it was not done in a discriminatory manner towards Rusty Waters. The board also emphasized that Trilogy is an open and inclusive community, saying the event would be rescheduled at a later date, and that people who don’t like it can choose not to attend.
However, Smithweiss remains skeptical of the board’s explanation and says that they haven’t said when they plan to reschedule the event.
“I think they’re trying to push it under the rug and pretend they didn’t make this mistake,” she said.
With the ACLU tracking 469 anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the U.S., Smithweiss said that Trilogy’s drag bingo night may not seem like a big deal, but it is.
“Too many small decisions like this are snowballing and they’re really hurting a lot of very good people. These are our friends and our family members. And discrimination is wrong. And we have to stop doing this,” she said.
News Channel 3 spoke with Rusty Waters, the queen who was removed from the even. She said she doesn’t necessarily want to perform at Trilogy in the future and that people against drag should spend their energy on more important issues.