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Members of Ankeny High School Gay Straight Alliance react to drag performance backlash

After receiving criticism following the late May drag show, students are concerned about LGBTQ+ students and teachers.

ANKENY, Iowa — After a controversial drag show that occurred at Ankeny High School after hours, the organizers⁠—the school's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)⁠—have spoken out about their intentions and the repercussions they have faced.

"My intentions with performing was to give the other students in my own GSA . . . a support system that I never got coming through the county school district," said Carson Doss, a member of the Gay Straight Alliance. "I wanted to show them that there are others in their building, and outside of high school and their own space that are there for them and have gone through the same struggles."

Doss said when planning the event, he ensured the material was family-friendly.

"I made sure to do content control and everything that was in that show was family-friendly and PG, every costume we wore had some sort of covering of the whole body," Doss said. 

Ankeny School District says although they support and work with the GSA, the district did not approve of the event or the performances that took place prior to them happening, saying the event is under investigation. 

Doss worries about the LGBTQ+ teachers who attended the event, as he said they haven't returned back to class since the start of the district's investigation. Ankeny Community School District has not confirmed if any teachers were on leave.

"To see them in such a bad place where they could be fired is really is really sad to me, because they're the only people that helped me make it through high school without losing my own life," Doss said. 

Now, the district is encouraging all students who may be experiencing bullying or harassment to utilize the tips reporting tool in Ankeny.

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