The coach, Johnny Haught, stated that the show was no more offensive than a Broadway or stand-up comedy show.
Drag shows have been a part of LGBTQIAP+ culture for decades, serving as a space for self-expression and entertainment. These shows often involve lip-syncing, dance performances, comedy acts and other forms of entertainment. They have also gained mainstream popularity in recent years, with shows like RuPaul's Drag Race bringing drag culture into the mainstream. However, drag shows continue to face criticism and discrimination from some communities. In Wheeling, West Virginia, a drag show at a local restaurant was canceled after performers and patrons received threats. In response, MMA coach Johnny Haught and his fighters volunteered to provide security services for the event, per The Guardian.
Johnny Haught, an MMA coach and his students offered security assistance to Primanti Bros restaurant in Wheeling. The show was scheduled for February 25 but was canceled to protect the performers and the audience from any mishaps. S&S Productions, a Pennsylvania-based LGBTQ+ event organizer, wrote, wrote on Facebook, "We couldn’t wait to party with you all, support the local LGBTQIA+ community, and show that a little glitter never hurt anyone." They also mentioned, "We were so incredibly excited to bring you a fabulous brunch to Wheeling WV. Unfortunately due to the number of threats towards Primantis, the entertainers, & sometimes even patrons, we've decided for the safety of everyone involved to cancel the event."
Good. Put your muscle to good use. That's excellent accomplice behavior. More of this.— Axel Folio, PhD, Angela Bassett did the thing (@ISASaxonists) February 28, 2023
West Virginia MMA fighters volunteer as security for local drag show https://t.co/AU2Rc4IDYs
Upon learning of the cancellation, Haught, the owner of an MMA gym, volunteered his security services. Although the event has yet to be rescheduled, Haught stated that he and members of his gym would be available to assist. He told WTRF, "The drag show is no more offensive than a Broadway show, or a stand-up comedy show. In essence, it’s a mix of both. At the end of the day, it is entertainment. Not part of some hidden agenda, like some, would have you believe." According to Haught, he has been a bouncer in a few local bars for around a decade and has extensive knowledge of security and safety measures. Additionally, he mentioned that his students have received ample training to maintain safety in the area under his supervision.
Johnny Haught, who operates as the owner and head instructor at Ohio Valley MMA , took to Facebook after the drag show was cancelled and volunteered him and some of his fighters to make sure the event stays safe.https://t.co/ZCaRZwythX— Illinois Eagle (@IllinoisEagle) February 22, 2023
According to a report by NBC News, in recent times, more than 100 laws that aim to restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender people, have been proposed or passed in various states across the US. These laws cover a wide range of areas, including sports, healthcare, and education. Unfortunately, the recent trend of targeting the LGBTQ+ community is not limited to legislation alone. In several states, Republican lawmakers have also taken measures to clamp down on drag shows. In fact, lawmakers in at least eight states have either proposed or passed laws to restrict or ban these shows altogether.
These actions have sparked outrage among advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, who argue that such measures only serve to discriminate against and marginalize an already vulnerable community. Critics of these laws and proposals say that they violate the basic human rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and could have far-reaching consequences on their lives and well-being.