ST. LOUIS - Members of St. Louis’ LGBTQIA community are speaking out against a controversial comedian scheduled to perform in north St. Louis County this weekend. The group is concerned over comments made they believe promote violence against transgender women.
Comedian Lil Duval is scheduled to perform at The Ambassador Concert and Event Center on Halls Ferry Road on Sunday (Nov. 18). This is the first time he will perform in St. Louis since his 2017 show was canceled.
The controversy began when, during a radio show last year, Lil Duval was asked how he would react if he was with a woman and discovered she was transgender. The comedian said he would kill her. Members of the LGBTQIA community met with the team at The Pageant to explain their concerns about Lil Duval performing at the venue. The Pageant responded by canceling Lil Duval’s show.
“We’re not necessarily singling out Lil Duval,” said Melanie Severs, board member of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG). “A show of not supporting him being here, is a show of not supporting anyone who could say something like that.”
In an interview with TMZ, Lil Duval defended his comment saying it was specific to the situation in question and does not reflect how he feels about the LGBTQIA community in general.
“I don’t got no problem with transgender,” he said. “I ain’t got no problem with gay people.”
“You have to take responsibility for the things you say,” said Leon Braxton, who also goes by Miss Leon, Diversity Officer for Pride St Charles. “When you start saying and spewing hate speech, then that’s a whole different ballgame.”
Members of the LGBTQIA community say, while they support the First Amendment, promoting violence against anyone is not acceptable.
“Hate speech is not going to be welcome in our city, transphobia is not going to be welcome in our city, and it’s not something that we’re going to put up with,” said LadyAshley Gregory, board member of MTUG.
A spokesperson with The Ambassador told Fox 2/News 11, they are just renting out the facility and are not involved with the content of the performance. Lil Duval’s show at The Ambassador is being promoted by a woman who identifies at lesbian.
“Lil Duval is coming in town to make people smile, and for good laughs and good vibes, and that’s what this comedy show is about,” said Angel Martin, CEO of Code Red Entertainment. “All lives matter, all is welcome, no matter who you are.”
Those opposed to the show say they are not buying that story. They plan to take a stand against hate speech and violence against the transgender community. “I stand up and fight for and want to get this show shut down because of the 22 trans women that have been killed so far this year in 2018, the 28 that were killed last year, and the 26 the year before that,” said Braxton.
Those opposed to Lil Duval’s performance said the timing of his event is particularly hard because Tuesday (Nov. 20) is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to reflect and remember transgender people killed by acts of violence.