Last week, the King County homeless coordinating agency, All Home, held an annual conference at a community college in Seattle. The schedule for the conference noted that during lunch there would be a “cultural performance.” Some attendees were surprised when a trans stripper named Beyoncé Black St. James started twirling, twerking, and collecting cash from attendees. A video of the performance leaked and now the agency’s director has resigned. This clip contains some partial nudity so it’s definitely NSFW.
If your a King County resident that’s your tax dollar at twerk! In the clip, many of the attendees are clapping and appear to be having a good time but not everyone who was there felt this was appropriate:
Attendees were government employees, nonprofit workers and members of the faith community, some of whom seemed uncomfortable with the performance, those sources said.
“I’m not personally offended by it, it just seemed so wrong and out of place for what we were there for,” said Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett, worrying that critics of Seattle’s approach to homelessness would see video of the event and use it to target local government and its efforts to end homelessness. “I just knew it was going to hit social media and when it hit social media, this is kind of like what every opponent of the collective work would wish for.”
The Daily Mail reports that St. James has been getting death threats since the video of this performance started circulating. That’s unfortunate. She didn’t impose herself on this conference. She was hired to do a job and agreed to do it. The real question is why All Home director Kira Zylstra thought this would be an appropriate use of taxpayer funds at a conference on homelessness. But according to the Seattle Times, Zylstra was aware her agency was about to become obsolete:
She had served as acting director of All Home for almost two years, but her agency could soon become obsolete: Seattle, King County and suburban governments are standing up a “regional homelessness authority” that will have more power over budgets and policymaking than All Home has had.
I’m speculating but maybe Zylstra decided that if she was going to go out she would go out with a bang. But this turned into a bit more of a bang than she probably anticipated. Zylstra was put on leave last week and Monday she resigned her position. I suspect she’ll have a hard time finding a similar job after this. Simply put, if any CEO in America had done this, much less any public agency, they would be fired. But because this is Seattle, there are naturally people defending this, including this former mayoral candidate:
Ppl are mad a trans burlesque dancer performed at a publicly funded conference about homelessness; an issue which deeply impacts trans & queer communities, artists & sex workers. Do people get this mad when gospel choirs are the cultural performance at non-Christian conferences?
— Nikkita Oliver (@NikkitaOliver) December 17, 2019
Here’s Jason Rantz response:
This is a publicly funded, work conference. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist, or a Socialist activist, to understand why a sexualized performance like this is inappropriate and even potentially opens up the county to a lawsuit.
When Oliver was called out for her laughable commentary, she went on a woke offensive: “It’s this kind of fixation, mostly held by the housed cultural majority residents and electeds, that is leading us away from listening to and implementing the solutions which come from those most affected by housing instability—which includes queer & trans burlesque dancers.”
If you want to know why homelessness isn’t getting better in the region, just take a gander at Oliver’s Twitter feed and bizarre defenses. She’s not interested in solutions. She’s interested in throwing out Progressive buzzwords to establish her political bona fides.
Seattle may be moving toward a future where it’s those who object to this performance that are considered suspect (for a variety of woke reasons), but events this week suggest the city isn’t there yet. Here’s a local news report on the situation.