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Anti LGBTQ Group Suspected In North Carolina Power Outage

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

During a news conference, authorities revealed that a person or group appeared to intentionally fire multiple gunshots that damaged two power substations in central North Carolina on Saturday.

The attack initially left roughly 45,000 households and businesses without power. Roughly 35,000 remained without power Sunday night. A spokesperson for Duke Energy said it may take until Thursday to repair the damaged equipment and restore power across Moore County.

Investigators are looking into whether the incident is linked to a drag queen show in the town of Southern Pines that evening, but they have not found any connection. Community members said far-right activists have tried to shut down the event for weeks, the Fayetteville Observer reported Friday.

“Recently, there’s been a shift in our very small community,” Monique Baker, an attendee of the drag show and mother to children from the LGBTQ community, told The Washington Post.

“It’s kind of scary to think that hate for a drag show could have brought on the attack,” she said. “Especially since the show was so full of love. Hopefully, that isn’t the case.”

The controversy around the “Downtown Divas” show, featuring dancing and lip-syncing, began to pick up steam after a local resident noticed that a flier advertising the event stated student tickets were half-price. Naomi said Sunrise was flooded with phone calls from people baselessly claiming that the theater was targeting young people for pedophilia. Dix said the theater’s decision to change the event to adults only fueled those claims.

As showtime approached Saturday, construction tape split the road outside the theater, with police officers standing in the middle as security. On one side of the divide, Dix said, were about 40 people reading scripture and calling drag artists sinners. Roughly 80 people wearing pink stood on the other side in support of her and the other performers.

Naomi Dix Performer with the Downtown Diva

At Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines, Naomi was about to introduce a dance duo when the lights went out. At first, this seemed normal, said Dix, who spoke to The Post on the condition that only her stage name be used because she feared for her safety. The lights were supposed to go dark at that point in the “Downtown Divas” drag show. Then Dix’s assistant told her that the theater had no power.

Given the hateful messages she received in the run-up to the event and dueling protests outside the venue, Dix said, participants immediately suspected the power outage could be connected to “our opposers.” Dix said her main concern was keeping the crowd calm and upbeat while organizers figured out what was happening.

So Dix, 31, said she asked the roughly 320-member audience to turn on their cellphones’ flashlights. With the devices illuminating the room, Dix led the crowd in singing “Halo” by Beyoncé.

“Us continuing with the show, even if it was for 45 minutes, shows that the fight is going to continue, and the fight is getting stronger,” she recalled telling the audience.

The investigation hasn't confirmed if the shooting was indeed done by an anti-LGBTQ hate group.


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