A cisgender dancer attending Charlotte Pride was captured on camera by an attendee’s mobile phone playing with a child believed to be her son on a twist and slide pole, often used by professional dancers and drag performers on stage as part of their entertainment act.
The footage was later posted to TikTok and Twitter and has prompted some Republicans to cry child abuse and level accusations of inappropriate behavior at the Charlotte Pride Festival event.
Since the report by a local Fox channel affiliate, reaction to the footage, which shows the two clearly having fun with no inappropriate behavior evident, accusations of unseemly behavior have reached a national level with conservative Republicans.
While the video has gone viral, an anti-progressive and sensationalist exploitation Twitter account known as LibsofTikTok posted the following statement about the footage: “A Pride event in Charlotte, NC featured a stripper pole where kids were able to try out pole dancing.”
LibsofTikTok took their accusations even further in an effort to malign Pride, claiming that professional exotic dancers had a booth at Pride “urging children to try out” what they referred to as “stripper poles.”
The pole was originally used on a float during the parade that represented the business Pole Body and Arts Fitness Studio. Pole Body and Arts teaches dance and fitness classes and is located in the Mallard Glen neighborhood in the University City North area.
The statement of purpose on their website reads as follows: “At Pole Body & Arts, Charlotte Pole Fitness classes are offered at the largest studio in the Carolinas. We are open to all genders and service a wide range of ages and body types. We provide a space to build strength, showcase the diversity of beauty, and experience transformation within us all.”
All of that information was conveniently overlooked by a Twitter poster who identified as Matt Rinaldi, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
Rinaldi tweeted “straight to jail,” as if to indicate something illegal had taken place and prosecution was imminent.
A reported journalist who identified as Tayler Hansen joined in on the frey by posting “America has a serious problem,” while a “Republican political operative” known as Matt Mackowiak called it “child abuse.”
It’s important to note that none of the individuals who are crying foul were confirmed as actually attending the event and have only a few seconds of footage to base their claims on.
Still, the growing conservative and Republican tide of anger and intolerance against the LGBTQ community should not go unacknowledged. Similar responses have occurred at drag queen story hours and pride events around the country.