A gay-friendly Catholic church in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is feeling the heat after allegedly banning all forms of drag on its premises.
According to The Bay Area Reporter, the Castro Country Club (which the paper deems a "gay recovery group") was notified by officials at the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church that they would not be allowed to host their annual "Harvest Feast" fundraiser if drag queens were scheduled to participate.
"In previous years, we have had Ivy Drip and Heklina, both well-known entertainers and community fundraisers, serve as emcees of the event, and we felt we could not in good conscience abide by the church's new policy," the country club's board of directors said in a statement quoted by the Reporter. "It is our organization's policy to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Drag queens are no exception."
An alternate venue for the event was currently being sought, the statement added.
The Reporter quotes Most Holy Redeemer's new pastor as confirming the reports, noting, "The archdiocese told me straight out, 'No drag queens.'"
The church's business manager seemingly echoed those sentiments, noting that recent events held there have gotten out of hand. "A review of drag queens and boys in their underwear…This is a church first and foremost," Mike Poma told KTVU. "To have that type of stuff going on, this [bothers] a lot of people."
However, KQED News cites archdiocese spokesperson George Wesolek as saying that the church didn't ban cross-dressing per se, but instead closed its facilities to all groups not affiliated with the church about two months ago. Calling the policy "somewhat usual...for parishes," he nonetheless added that most "would not consider [drag queens] appropriate."
It's not the first time the church, which reportedly has a heavily gay and lesbian congregation, has found itself at the center of local controversy over its policy on LGBT issues. SFist reports that San Francisco's Catholic archdiocese asked Most Holy Redeemer officials to rescind invitations to three gay-friendly clergy who had been asked to perform a series of pre-Christmas evening services last year.