Audience appreciates first Bonners Ferry Pride

Bonners Ferry Pride
A crowd of over 50 attended just the afternoon segment of Bonners Ferry Pride on Saturday. Organizers said Friday night that they had presold many tickets for the event and were pleased with the reception this new celebration had received. Friday night a large group of protestors assembled on the sidewalks in front of and across from the Pearl Theater, site of the event. On Saturday, about 10 protestors had assembled, with one young man quoting Scriptures from the opposite side of the street. When I was coming and going from the event, five of the protestors asked to speak with me and politely engaged in conversations about their Christian beliefs and I spoke with them about how those differed from mine.

By Clarice McKenney


Bonners Ferry Pride
Alan Rudi organized the first-ever Bonners Ferry Pride celebration after moving here from Spokane. Rudi, under the stage name of Seymour Black, sang one of the Disney songs featured in the drag show between 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday.

“He’d be right here in the middle,” said Billie Jo Klaniecki, an elderly woman in a white blouse and tie-dyed skirt, who had been rocking to the beat when I walked into the main day of Bonners Ferry Pride. Cast and crew were playing onstage as she swayed to the beat, while more than 50 others were seated, standing along one side and at the end of the room at the Pearl Theater on Ash Street. As they finished playing, Klaniecki finished her thought

“Jesus would be loving everyone,” she said. “Even the man across the street.”

As I approached the theater on foot, a handsome young man who told me he was born in Hawaii was loudly reading Scriptures into a microphone aimed at the door. He and I spoke for a few minutes about the faith we share but the religious beliefs we do not. I told him I will pray for him, and he thanked me for that.

“A friend of ours sent us the prayer I am going to read,” announced McCallum Morgan, coexecutor of the Pearl Theater. “The idea of religion isn’t for us, but lots of queer people believe,” he said before reading the prayer for love and peace for the Bonners Ferry Pride group and a prayer for all of those who have been, and still are, in pain from being devalued as human beings.

Before reading a poem he had written, Morgan read a poem called “Passports” by a man named Andy who celebrated in words having an X on his passport, not an F or an M. In the poem, he wrote, “I feel the euphoria in being seen.”

Bonners Ferry Pride
The audience was wildly appreciative of Philip Roberson-Wire’s rendition of a classic Disney song. Event producer Bobby Wire-Roberson told the audience his husband’s voice made him fall in love with Philip, whom she then introduced.

The poem continued with deep meaning to everyone present, according to the loud applause, as the poet related the stigma “stigmata,” felt by the LGBTQ+ community coming from some who call themselves Christians. “It’s you who fear and hate; yet we bear the wounds, the stigma, the stigmata.”

Bobby Wire-Roberson was introduced as producer of the event. Philip Roberson-Wire is his husband, and before introducing Philip, Bobby said they had met on a cruise and Bobby fell in love with Phil “because of his voice.”

In drag as Victoria, she said, “We greatly appreciate and love all of you. Thank you for making this event special today.”

Philip then sang in his rich baritone/bass over a recorded version of a well-loved Disney classic song. Many times, between verses, he was loudly applauded for his voice quality and showmanship. At the end, he told the audience, “Your love and acceptance means so much to us.”

Two others in drag performed more Disney music for the audience, and when two little girls went into the aisle as the last one rounded the audience down on the floor, the performer enclosed them in a soft hug. Clearly, the little girls were over the moon with her rendition of their favorite from “The Little Mermaid.”

The founder of Bonners Ferry Pride, Alan Rudi, was introduced by his stage name, Seymour Black. He sang a Disney number. Black earlier told me he moved to Bonners Ferry from Spokane and learned there never had been a Pride celebration here, which is why he organized it.

My husband, Rob, spoke to Alan between performances as two little girls danced in the aisle.

Nodding to them, Alan smiled and said, “That’s what this is all about. Innocence and not being in the closet about who we are.”

One thought on “Audience appreciates first Bonners Ferry Pride

  1. I am glad this was a success. It is a nice thing when people can come together and find friendship and acceptance. Kudos to the organizers – Although I did not attend I loved seeing all the smiling faces on social media.

Comments are closed.