Fresno City Council member speaks out about Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Family Pride Night

Fresno, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) A Fresno City Council member is speaking out against the Fresno Chaffee Zoo after the zoo announced a “Family Pride Night” event that would feature family-friendly drag queen performances.

The after-hours, rsvp event is scheduled to take place on June 24. It will feature food trucks, activities, and several performances by drag queens.

Early Wednesday morning, Councilmember Gary Bredefeld who represents District 6 criticized the zoo for its decision to host the event.

“The despicable and evil efforts to sexualize our children continue, even at the Fresno Zoo. The Zoo is now going to allow “Family Friendly Drag Performances” on June 24th where children can “meet and greet with the queens after the show,” Bredefeld wrote on a Facebook post early Wednesday morning.

In an interview later that day Bredefeld said he wanted to clarify why he was opposed to the event and said it was not related to celebrating Pride but rather the use of drag performances.

“They’re calling it a family-friendly event but these are anything but family-friendly,” said Bredefeld.

“It’s just completely inappropriate and children shouldn’t be at these events just as they shouldn’t be if there were female strippers there.”

The zoo released a statement in response to Bredefeld’s comments that read in part;

“Mr. Bredefield misrepresents both the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s commitment to community and this event. Our family pride celebration provides a safe and family-focused space for members of the LBGTQ+ community in an after-hours rsvp event.”

Fresno City Council President, Nelson Esparza said the event is a continuation of Pride events throughout Fresno in celebration of Pride Month. June is recognized nationally as Pride Month.

“Even prior to my colleagues’ comments we had posted about it, we’re promoting it for the community to attend the Chaffee Zoo on June 24,” Esparza said. “We think it’s a great thing, it really teaches our community and our children about celebrating diversity not just here in Fresno but throughout our nation and the world.”

“I certainly trust the zoo,” Esparza continued. “I trust that they are going to put on a family-friendly event and that’s why we are promoting it.”

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