Six hours after blocking off downtown Southern Pines for the town's annual holiday parade, police returned to the blocks surrounding the Sunrise Theater to prepare for a drag performance show that has generated significant protest and controversy in town and on social media. 

The Downtown Divas drag show, which was scheduled for 7 p.m. but did not begin until 7:40 p.m., was scheduled as a fundraiser for Sandhills Pride, the local nonprofit supporting the LGBTQ community. The show originally allowed for children and teenagers to attend, but following angry protests online, the Sunrise and Sandhills Pride announced that only individuals aged 18 and older would be admitted.

Protest Preparation

Police prepared the area around the Sunrise Theater ahead of the drag show and protests outside across the street at the downtown Southern Pines train station.

Watching From Above

Police officers atop the roof of the Sunrise Theater keep an eye on protesters down below on Broad Street

Prayer Group

Protesters of the drag show in Southern Pines gather Saturday in prayer across the street from the Sunrise Theater.

Counter protesters outside the Sunrise Theater Saturday evening.

(11) comments

Tommy Davis

Whatever floats your boat... I'm not familiar with scripture that addresses cross dressing. Perhaps wearing Punjabis' is cross dressing as well. Religious zealots should clean up their backyards first before casting their condescending verbal stones. To have an elected Commissioner protesting is beyond reproach when they are elected to represent ALL people who live in Moore County and not a gaslighting Lee County resident seen with Nick Picerno. So now voters know that he only represents his own special interests as opposed to the voters and taxpayers who live and reside in Moore County. Elected officials should refrain from trying to force their religious opinions on all of us. Who's next Jewish synagogues?

Twila Tharp

I really feel sorry for those that insist every American citizen must think exactly the same way. You do not have the right to force your religious beliefs on your fellow citizens. I hope your souls get healed so that you may learn from Christ and love your neighbor as yourself.

Kent Misegades

Never mentioned - the Club Q perpetrator identified itself as “non-binary”, aka was from the same ilk and had no real stable family life. Strong Christian nuclear families rarely result in sexual immorality, unemployment, criminal behavior, divorce, etc.

Kent Misegades

How many of the angry supporters were bussed in from Chapel Hill? It was pretty obvious as they all arrived together, late, and clearly have been part of such a rabble before. Their presence was another huge belly flop for the left and an embarrassment for The Pilot and the Town of Southern Pines, which has now earned the title of Southern Berkeley. Might be an idea for their new logo.

Karl Williams

Just go ahead and blame it on ANTIFA Kent. It's sad how the right wing sheep-propelled by fear, intolerance, and ignorance-distort scripture to justify their behavior.

Matthew Gritzmacher

Yikes, this piece really centers and gives preference to the voices of one side of the story, no? Two small comments tacked on at the end from pro-drag show voices?

Out and about on Broad Street Saturday afternoon and evening, most people and businesses I spoke to were in support of the show and quite wary of the significant *outside* attention the event had gotten. Let's not be mistaken about which set of views are in the minority in Southern Pines.

I am grateful the evening was peaceful after the heated language, threats, and concerns in the leadup.

Kent Misegades

Matthew, the reason The Pilot couldn’t print more comments from the very confused, angry supporters was they have to delete every other word. F bombs everywhere but not from the Christians.

Kent Misegades

A fairly accurate account. But there were easily over 100 opponents present, and they were there long before the loud and vulgar show supporters appeared. It’s no wonder The Pilot doesn’t show the posters from the supporters as they were not exactly G-rated. It must have been a major embarrassment for the town of Southern Pines to have these profane radicals present. The opposition was by comparison quiet and prayerful. Quite a few pastors and young people were among the determined group. The police did a fine job and only had to deal with the shrill show supporters with their encroachment on the barricades and their vulgarity. Southern Pines should expect continued voices of opposition to its support of the radical left, very much out of place and time in conservative Moore County.

Chris Smithson

Stay in seven lakes Kent. We in Southern Pines don’t care what you think.

Kent Misegades

Hi Chris. This is called an Opinion section. I pay for its use. If you don’t like my opinions, don’t read them. Funny, the people in SP are always happy to see me when I buy things in the shops there. Especially in the best one, the Christian Book Store.

Mike ODea

Hey Kent, you wanna tell your Oath Keeper buddies to step up and take responsibility for the power outage?

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