’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Responds to Alleged Ban in Philadelphia
Outspoken drag queen Mimi Imfurst, best known for her three-episode run on the third season of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" has taken to social media with an open letter to protest an alleged ban on her participation in Philadelphia’s OutFest National Coming Out Day festivities scheduled to take place Sunday Oct. 13, in the city of brotherly love.
In a lengthy letter on Mimi Imfurst (born Braden Chapman)’s Facebook page, the drag personality claims that Outfest event promoters, Philly Pride locked her out of the event.
"This year, the bar in Philadelphia that I work for: Voyeur Nightclub and its brother bar Woody’s were invited to perform, under the stipulation that I not be apart of it," the letter reads. "I have been informed that I have been banned from OUTFEST by the Philadelphia Gay Pride committee for my actions at Philly Gay Pride in the summer. "
The actions in Imfurst’s letter refer to her attempt to the block view and audio of a small group of anti-gay activists by holding a large rainbow flag in front of the protester and muffling his small speakers with her purse.
Imfurst’s open letter of the incident, which was also distributed via email as a media alert from New York based promotions and public relations firm Spin Cycle recounts the event as follows:
"Every year, without fail, there is always a protest group with ’GOD HATES F*GGOTS’ signs and a loudspeaker in tote. [..]This year was no different. At the end of the parade route there were 2 or 3 of these protestors. I grabbed a large rainbow flag from a stranger and held it up blocking the protestors from a view of the crowd. The attendees of the pride celebration applauded my actions. A Philly Gay Pride official was upset that my counter-protest was getting attention and had a police officer ask the stranger I borrowed the flag from to ask for it back [..] The Philly Gay Pride official asked me to walk away and said that they didn’t want me to draw attention to the protestors. I explained to them that it was my First Amendment right to counter-protest and that I do not believe in walking away [..]
I then noticed that the protestor’s speakers were smaller then my purse. Knowing how sound works, I held my purse 2 inches away from their speaker (being sure not to touch it) and in doing so, my purse reflected the sound back away from the crowd so that they couldn’t understand a single word the protestor was saying. This drew more attention and the Philly Gay Pride official called for another person to get the police. THEY THEN THREATENED TO ARREST ME for being DISORDERLY in PUBLIC! That’s right! THE PHILADELPHIA GAY PRIDE COMMITTEE TRIED TO HAVE ME ARRESTED FOR STANDING UP FOR GAY RIGHTS AT AN LGBT EVENT."
Imfurst’s letter goes on to harshly criticize Philly Pride’s alleged actions against her and eventually calls for the organization’s executive director, Fran Price to resign.
"I am calling for the immediate resignation of Franny Price and any other board members of the Philadelphia Gay Pride Committee and those who stand behind her. This is not just about me. They have also banned other members of our community for similar, unsound reasons. [..] I am also calling to action my fellow drag queens to stand with me in solidarity by not donating your time to Philly Gay Pride. I am asking my sisters to reject any invitations to perform on their stage at OUTFEST. To do so will only endorse their actions."