SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 10, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Days after Zions Bank announced it was pulling its funding from the Boise Pride Festival, the Utah Pride Center has issued a statement “relinquishing our relationship with Zions Bank.”
“As many of you know, Boise Pride celebrations begin this weekend, but not without significant challenges and opposition,” says a statement issued Friday by the Utah Pride Center.
“Not only are extremists attacking Boise Pride and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but they’re also attacking allies and sponsoring organizations who genuinely want to support our community.
“While we understand their fears and reaction to this harmful behavior, some sponsors including Zions Bank, decided to pull their funding, participation in, and support for Boise Pride in the moment their advocacy was needed the most.”
Zions Bank statement
The statement tweeted Wednesday by Zions Bank reads as follows:
“Over the years, Zions Bank has supported a variety of Pride events because they are an important part of our support for our LGBTQ employees and allies and are representative of our efforts to foster an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace and community,” the Zions statement says.
“This support for all our employees and communities remains unchanged. However, when we committed to our sponsorship of this year’s Boise Pride event, we were unaware of the event’s activities involving specific activities involving children/minors. Since learning of these specific activities, we have made the decision to withdrawal our participation in this year’s Boise Pride event, and have communicated this to the event organizers.”
Children’s drag show
The Zions Bank statement doesn’t name the children’s festival activity that sparked concerns, but the same day the Zions statement came out, the Idaho Republican Party issued a statement on a planned children’s drag show being held in conjunction with the festival but at another site.
The Idaho Republican Party statement criticized Boise’s mayor and said, “Idaho’s Democratic Party believes it is not only okay but laudable to encourage children to engage in public displays of sexuality.”
The news release added that, “What is surprising is to see who is financing this attack on Idaho’s children. Out-of-state companies promise to bring investment and jobs to Idaho. Instead, they are financing the sexualization of our children and the perverse idea that children should engage in sexual performances with adult entertainers.”
It called the event an “attack on Idaho’s children,” stating, “Children should be given the chance to live out a childhood free from violence, hunger, and the sexual appetites of adults.”
On Thursday, Boise Pride announced it had decided to postpone the planned event due to safety concerns.
“We support the kids 1000% and their choice to be themselves, stand in their truth and express themselves,” the statement says, in part. “They are brave, beautiful, and deserve their chance to be in the spotlight, and we want to give them that at a later date.”
Utah Pride Center statement
The Utah Pride Center statement issued Sunday, targeting Zions Bank, said it “recognizes that this form of bullying and intimidation by extremists is nothing new to members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“Some of us deal with this harmful behavior daily. We’re disappointed that when met with these challenges, those who would call themselves ‘allies’ would turn away, rather than exercise their strength and influence to lift us up.
“We know how difficult it is to be part of a marginalized community. It’s not always popular or comfortable. Being an ally means supporting us through the good times and the bad. Being an ally means not only marching in a parade, but being an ally all year long.
“We are relinquishing our relationship with Zions Bank and we hope that they will learn to support and be true allies of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
The Pride Center said it would match donations to Boise Pride up to $2,500, “and we challenge other allied organizations to do the same.”