Grace Church High School reportedly forced students to dance with drag queen or be called ‘homophobic’
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The students of Grace Church High School, whose annual fees are $57,000, have reportedly spoken about the time when they were forced to dance alongside a drag queen. As per reports, Grace Church High School held the 6th Annual Pride Chapel event in April and invited Jesse Havea for the performance.
For the April 27 function, Havea, whose stage name is Brita Filter, performed while donning bright orange and blue go-go boots paired with a matching babydoll dress. He shared about it on his social media pages as he wrote on Instagram, “Who said you can’t have a drag queen at church? 💃🏽🏳️🌈 Would you go to this service? 😉💒.”
Havea then went on to thank the school for the invitation as he added: “So honored to talk to you about my work as an drag activist and to hear the beautiful brave queer stories and songs from your students and faculty. I will never forget this beautiful moment. A special thank you to @andrew_hausofeels for the invitation, my chaperone for the day @lalawiggy, and @mspattilabelle for helping me feel the spirit. I love you.”
But some pupils of the institution were clearly not happy as an anonymous student spoke with The Post Millennial and said: “There was tons of social pressure to dance along and pretend like it was normal for sure, whether it be people tapping on shoulders and telling them to stand up or just a collective staring contest at whoever wasn't totally participating.” The student added that “immediately upon entering there was a person handing out stickers with Pride flags on them, unironically saying 'take one or you're homophobic.’”
It has been said that Havea entered the church from the back side while the disco hit ‘I Will Survive’ played in the background. Then he went on to perform on the altar with some students, a few of them even twerked. The student remarked, “I wondered, is this really happening in a chapel?” while the second one said: “Tons of social pressure to dance along and pretend that this was normal for church.”
Another student accused Havea of being a highly self-obsessed person. “It’s notable that this person consistently called themselves fabulous and talented and beautiful. Not just once or twice, but over and over this person reassured themselves that way,” the student pointed out.
The school’s website stated that “after a performance of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ Brita sat with Director of Vocal Music, Andrew Leonard, to answer questions about drag, representation and what pride month symbolizes.” The site also said that the students were given the opportunity to discuss “their own stories and experiences of identity and belonging at Grace.”
However, during that time only, a teacher named Uyen Nguyen, who identifies themselves as ‘The Gay Agender Teacher Nguyen,’ put forward their resignation. Though the teacher said "how much they loved the gay kids at school, and how this has been the most inclusive and accepting place they’ve ever been, but it's the administration they cannot work with,” they claimed it’s not possible for them to continue working there.
One student explained, “The administration is not supportive of their identity. They kept just saying that they were getting misgendered and people weren’t using their pronouns.” Nguyen had also brought this issue up earlier. During an interview with the school's newspaper, The Grace Gazette, in March they had noted: “It’s mandatory that faculty do some amount of anti-racism training. My first week of meetings were all just anti-racism workshops. That’s great and necessary and needed, I just wish that there was also gender diversity and acceptance training.”
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They added, “How to be respectful of different identities and whatnot. That’s not something that the school currently does. It’s really hard for me to be able to be supportive and create a safe space for people if I, myself, am struggling to feel that for me.”