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An Ohio children’s museum found itself under fire after it announced it would be hosting a “queer prom” for LGBTQ+ youth ages 12-18 on February 10. The event was to be held at the Buckeye Imagination Station in Mansfield, OH and was sponsored by the LGBTQ+ advocacy group, Love On A Mission (LOAM). A poster for the event featured three drag performers who would be performing at the event and listed their names as Tina Jade Marlo, Miles N.S., and Anita B. The controversy erupted when it was noted that children as young as 12 would be attending the event and two of the drag queens had vulgar stage names. Miles N.S. is known as “Miles N Sider” and Anita B. is known as “Anita B Boned.” Ohio Frontlines reported that it was unable to confirm if any of the performers had criminal histories due to their use of aliases but that “Some of the acts posted by the performers on social media are too graphic to display.”

After reportedly receiving complaints from patrons and community members about the ages of children at the event and concerns over explicit behavior by the performers, the Buckeye Imagination Station posted on its Facebook page that it would no longer be hosting the event. “Thank you for the concern regarding the recent scheduled rental event. As information about the event has been shared with us, the museum has concluded that we are no longer the facility who will host this event. At this time we are also taking steps to further ensure the appropriateness of future events at our museum,” said the post. According to The Christian Post, requests for comment on what information was shared about the event that led to the cancellation were not answered. The museum’s Executive Director, Fred Boll, did release a separate statement saying that the cancellation was not due to the prom being for LGBTQ+ students or community pressure. “We have supported LOAM (Love on a Mission) and we were happy to host its prom for LGBTQIA kids who don’t have a prom at their school or can’t bring a same-sex date to their school’s prom. However, after learning that children ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old would attend the same prom, we determined it was not appropriate for us to host the event,” said Boll. He added that, “most parents would not be comfortable with their 12-year-old dating an 18-year-old. What’s appropriate for a 17- or 18-year-old student is not the same as what’s OK for a 12-year-old child. And by hosting the event, the museum becomes liable for anything that occurs on its property, despite having no control over how the event is run and what performers say and do.”

LOAM responded to the cancelation on its Facebook, saying it was “saddened.” It stated its purpose was to assist vulnerable LGBTQ+ students in the 12-18 range. “Unfortunately, there are too many places and people that create unsafe and harmful settings for these young people to express themselves. LOAM wants to provide the opportunity for them to have the same experiences as other youths in a safe setting. This prom was to be one of those events,” wrote the group. It acknowledged the performers but stated, “They were each asked to do one performance geared toward young people. While they also engage with adults in other venues, they were aware of their audience.” Deena Hamilton, LOAM’s event coordinator, stated other venues had reached out to host the event and that it would be held at an “undisclosed location for the children’s safety.”

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