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Charlotte Pride Festival Denounced After Videos Show Young Boy Being Given Pole Dancing Lesson

The event included an area with 'family-friendly entertainment and resources'

A video of a young child being taught how to pole dance at a Pride event in North Carolina is being denounced as inappropriate.

The Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade advertised its Youth & Family Zone for “all children” and attendees under the age of 20. The area was in part sponsored by home improvement retailer Lowe’s, technology company Microsoft and financial services company Equitable.

The area included “family-friendly entertainment and resources, including arts and crafts, community resources, a family care tent, and special speakers and entertainers,” per the event’s website. This includes Drag Queen Story Hour throughout the day.

In a video from the event that was originally shared on Twitter by Libs of TikTok, a young boy in a baseball cap is held by a woman in a black thong, bikini top, and white fanny pack as she spins on a pole in the middle of the street. The video then cuts to another woman twerking on the ground with dollar bills in her thong.

Other videos from the Charlotte Pride festival showed children in the crowd watching and cheering on some of the floats passing by, one of which featured a girl in a rainbow bikini pole dancing,” per The Daily Mail

Organizers of the festival, which was held on the weekend of Aug. 20, report the event typically brings 200,000 visitors to Charlotte and is the second largest Pride event in the region. The last in-person Charlotte Pride was held in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and generated $8.05 million in economic impact – of which $4.79 million came from direct visitor spending.

“LGBTQ people from all walks of life — younger, older, singles, families — use the weekend event as a way to meaningfully connect with others and build community,” Charlotte Pride said in a press release prior to the event’s 2022 return. 

“Missing the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade for two years has been very hard for our family,” said Joshua Jernigan, a “queer parent” and the founder of the Gender Education Network, in the statement. “Pride is a full, weekend-long family holiday for us.” 

“We all get new shirts and our kid gets a new Pride dress every year,” Jernigan said. “We look forward to spending the entire weekend with other people and families just like us.”

After the video gained attention online, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Matt Rinaldi tweeted, “Straight to Jail.”

Another Twitter user commented “The fall of society.”

“It’s one thing to have pride for being yourself- but to engage children in adult behavior is sick,” wrote another. “That’s not ‘Pride.’ it’s grooming for future sexual behavior.” 

Charlotte Pride previously faced criticism in 2017 when several gay people who supported President Donald Trump said their application to have a float at the parade was rejected. 

“I’m very proud of my vote. I don’t regret my vote,” said Briant Talbert, a member of the Greensboro-based group Deplorable Pride. “I will vote for Donald Trump again. I’m proud of my president. I don’t think I should be vilified because I’m proud of a U.S. president as an American.”

“It was going to be fun… We wanted to show that we weren’t the racist, bigot, misogynistic…We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president,” Talbert said, per Fox 5. “We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am.”

Charlotte Pride responded in a statement saying it “reserves the right to decline participation at our events to groups or organizations which do not reflect the mission, vision and values of [the] organization.”

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