A LGBTQ+ “Youth Carnival” slated to take place on June 7 in Indianapolis is facing a wave of criticism, primarily due to the barring of parents from the event. The event, which invites “youth” as well as adults aged 18 to 20, is organized by two LGBTQ+ organizations, Indiana Youth Group and Indy Pride. U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., expressed his concern over the exclusion of parents from the event, stating that the radical social agenda of the Left is becoming uncontrollable.
The event’s registration form mentions various activities including meeting local Indy drag royalty and a youth talent show, while also asking children to identify their preferred personal pronouns. However, the nature of other planned entertainment is unspecified in the event’s poster. Parents’ exclusion from the event is justified by the organizers as a safety measure, owing to the “general sociopolitical climate” which is perceived as hostile to LGBTQ+ children.
Zoe O’Haillin-Berne, director of engagement for Indiana Youth Group, stated that such inhospitable conditions could potentially cause psychological and physical harm to queer youth. However, she didn’t specify the groups considered hostile by Indiana Youth Group. Indiana Youth Group CEO Chris Paulsen previously stated that parents who are unsupportive of LGBTQ+ ideology are considered inhospitable.
The Indiana Youth Group is known to run a program called Prism, which aims to rehouse LGBTQ+ young adults from unsupportive homes and parents. Critics have pointed out that at the Youth Carnival, the group would likely be able to advertise Prism without the knowledge of parents. Additionally, O’Haillin-Berne, while mentioning a variety of activities, notably left out the “meeting drag royalty” activity from her list, even though it is mentioned in the registration form.
The event’s only advertised sponsor, the Indianapolis Airport Authority, along with lawmakers, have largely criticized the Youth Carnival, questioning the Authority’s involvement in an event that doesn’t allow parents to be aware of what their children are being exposed to. Despite this, the Indianapolis Airport Authority has clarified that they are only one of the many sponsors of the event.