Pride event will go on

By Jessica Tingley
The Pearl Theater

Bonners Ferry PrideIn response to Steve Tanner’s letter of June 13. The Bonners Ferry Pride event is a rental. The Pearl Board could not cancel it even if we wanted to, to do so would be illegal as it is against the law to deny a rental to a group because of their sexual orientation or because they are planning an event we personally do not approve of.

These are the same reasons that we could not NOT rent to them, and the same reasons we did not deny a rental to the church group that met at the Pearl weekly for nearly a year. They were entitled to equal and fair access to the building as a rental, even though the purpose was not part of our mission statement.

The Pearl Theater was awarded a diversity grant in 2023 and we are using some of those funds to sponsor, in part, the Sunday film festival. This is not only keeping with our mission statement, it is the final event required to fulfill the grant requirements. Lastly, there is a community art project entitled PRIDE in our community which was also grant funded and a requirement for completing the grant objectives.

Your argument against the event is based on how you practice your religion. However yours is not the only religion and there are other ways to practice religions similar to yours, and these religions are provided the same freedom as yours. You are free to practice your religion, you cannot force others to practice it. You cannot force the Pearl to follow it. We knew there would be opposition to the event and in some ways the arguments against the event are exactly why the event was needed. There is a robust gay community in Boundary County and if they want to celebrate their right to exist, to love, and to marry, they should be able to do so.

Someone left a letter on the Pearl’s door recently that said in part, “What a sad day for our community that you would welcome these kinds of people.”

What a sad day indeed, that for the last two months so much hate has been on display. How sad that someone left a note and matches threatening to burn down the Pearl for allowing gay people inside. How sad that as an unpaid volunteer, I had to take time off from work to meet with the FBI, the Chief of Police, and a lawyer in order to manage the death threats. How sad that we had to spend an enormous sum of money on a better security system, money that could have been spent painting the Pearl or updating the heating. How sad that for some people in this community, freedom only applies to them and their way of life.

So Mr. Tanner, even if we could cancel the the event, I’m not sure we would. Because Bonners Ferry and the Pearl Theater is for everyone, including the LGBTQ community and anyone else that has a different faith from yours or different ideas about what art is.

3 thoughts on “Pride event will go on

  1. All that totally makes sense. Your back is against the wall, you just can’t even cancel because it’s illegal. And you got a diversity grant too! So I understand your position. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change that I can’t support the Pearl for any reason again, and will actively do the admittedly little that I can stop this hateful, mean, and base ideology and those that abet it.

  2. Somehow Jessica, I think you and the board do approve of this event, despite your statements hiding behind the legalities of renting space at the Pearl as your only rational for entertaining such an abhorrent event in our traditional community. You, just like Mike, and the rest of the board are cowards. Censoring people on Facebook for disagreeing with this event moving forward. You know what is truly sad? It certainly isn’t that you had to spend more money on the security system, what a banal thing to be upset by. It also isn’t the “hate” you claim to have received, what do you deem as hateful, anyone that disagrees with you? What’s truly sad is the fact that Bonners Ferry, one of the last places a child could just be a child, has fallen to the woke agenda of “pride,” a group that takes overt pleasure in sexualizing our children. What’s sad is that the majority of this town has to kowtow to the whims of a few individual adults who need constant reaffirmation in their mental illness by those around them. It is a sad day indeed for the locals of this once beautiful, traditionally minded county. You make a mockery of what the Pearl once was, a place to worship God.

  3. Honestly, all the garbage from people like Sarah only help Pride. All I’ve seen over the last few months are the volunteers consistently being kind and taking the high road. They haven’t disparaged the in his image event, they didn’t steal or damage their signs, they’re not boycotting anyone, they haven’t called and left threatening messages to anyone. The people who are doing all this crap, these so called Christians, guess what, your kids are watching and now they know who the safe people are and where the safe spaces are. They know it’s not in your churches and your homeschool groups and all the other spaces where they hear you try to spread hate. There’s a reason why young people leave the church in droves. Pride people, you don’t have to do anything different, people like Sarah are doing the work for you.

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