'There's no such thing as Transgenders': Man disrupts pride event
Anchorage's annual PrideFest Week is in full swing. It's a time for the community to celebrate equality and inclusion, but a man who refers to himself as a pastor tried to spread a different message Saturday.
Dave Grisham, a self-proclaimed pastor with Last Frontier Evangelism, has made a habit of interrupting events and gatherings celebrating views he doesn't agree with to shout his own beliefs. He's known for barging into the Santa House in North Pole, to spread a religious message to children in line to see Santa, telling them "Santa isn't real."
His latest appearance was Saturday at a family-friendly PrideFest event: Drag Queen Story Time. The ticketed event, inside the Loussac Library, celebrated reading, creativity and acceptance.
Grisham video recorded himself crashing the story time, as someone holding a second camera inside the room captured the outburst from the opposite angle.
"Today we're at the Loussac Public Library where they're having story time with a drag queen," he said. "So we are gonna go inside and tell the kids the truth, there's no such thing as transgenders."
As Grisham enters the room, two drag queens and a drag king are reading a book to a room of children and their parents.
"Hey kids, my name is Pastor David, and I want to tell you there's no such thing as transgenders," he interrupted.
Parents in the room quickly forced him to leave, as his message is drowned out with the children's nursery rhyme, "Wheels on the Bus."
PrideFest events continued Sunday morning with brunch and a drag show at Mad Myrna's.
"I just encourage people who don't know the difference between a drag queen and somebody who is transgender to do their research look it up," said JJ Harrier, PrideFest co-chair. "They are completely two different things. And so, the individual yesterday who was on a rant will probably continue to do so, but our community is so glued together right now, especially during pride week, that we're just gonna stick together and remind and educate people who we are."
The intruder's face is a familiar one during PrideFest Week. His anti-LGBT message was met with loud music at last year's Pride Parade.
This year's big event will have increased security, but his appearance at the library signals growing boldness to organizers, who are now thinking about adding security at smaller pride week events too.
"You start thinking about, well maybe we should have that, and if it makes people feel safer, then that's always a priority for Identity and a priority for our community," Harrier said.
People who attended the event say the intrusion caught them by surprise and they are thankful the situation didn't turn violent.
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