U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville took to Facebook Monday morning to denounce local LGBTQ organization Pride on The Plains' participation in Saturday’s Christmas Parade in Opelika.
“Hard to believe that right in my own backyard the city of Opelika allows drag queens in the city Christmas Parade which was held this weekend. What is next?” the post reads.
The Plainsman was denied an interview with Tuberville by his campaign team, and the Senate candidate did not respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. Tripp Skipper, an aide on Tuberville's campaign team, responded to initial emails sent by The Plainsman requesting an interview, but he has not responded to questions about Tuberville’s Facebook post.
The float belonged to the LGBTQ advocacy organization Pride on The Plains and was entered in both the Opelika and Auburn Christmas parades on Dec. 7 and 8, respectively.
The float referenced the film “Mean Girls,” with four drag queens dressed in Santa-like outfits dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock,” recreating the popular winter talent show scene in the film, said Pride on The Plains President Chad Peacock.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“We’ve had so many people reach out to us and say we were the best float of the parade,” Peacock told The Plainsman. “I’m sure that not everybody that feels that way, but enough people have reached out to us that we just feel that they enjoyed it and look forward to us being in it.”
This isn’t the first time Pride on The Plains has faced backlash from the community for entering the Christmas parade. In 2017, some community members spoke out against the group’s inclusion in the Opelika Christmas Parade.
Despite the backlash, Pride on The Plains participated in the parade in 2017 and in every Christmas Parade since. The pride organization also hosts a parade each June as part of its Pride Festival.
In 2018 and 2019, the parade was held in Opelika. The City of Opelika and the City of Auburn have both been welcoming to the pride organization, Peacock said.
“We like to think that they’re proud that we’re participating,” Peacock said.
Peacock posted to his personal Facebook page about Tuberville's comments, and the City of Opelika responded from its official account on his post.
"Coincidentally, the City of Opelika’s Character Word of the month is COMPASSION. Opelika welcomes all to enjoy what our great city has to offer," the comment from City of Opelika reads.
As for Tuberville’s Facebook post, Pride on The Plains is still working on drafting a statement. Peacock, though, did have a message for Tuberville.
“You shouldn’t speak on things that you don’t know about,” Peacock said. “You should focus more on political issues, on things that are important to Alabamians. A local Christmas parade float that is promoting inclusion and diversity should not be on the list of things that should concern you when you’re running for such an important political position. And if it does, I have great worry for your candidacy."
Peacock also encouraged young members of the LGBTQ community not to let one person’s words get to them. There’s still a long way to go, Peacock said.
“Let this be fuel to you,” Peacock said. “Let this prove to you that we have so much further still to go and to not give up. Keep fighting the good fight. We are making headway, and this should light a fire under us to keep fighting for inclusion.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman