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Bomb and shooting threat sent over ‘drag brunch’ at Fair Lakes restaurant

Blue Iguana Restaurant and Bar in Fair Lakes (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County police are investigating a threat of violence against the Blue Iguana in Fair Lakes and a local drag performer partnered with the restaurant and bar.

The anonymous email sent Saturday morning (Dec. 10) said that “several bombs” had been placed inside the restaurant in the Shops at Fair Lakes (12727 Shoppes Lane) as well as the home of a drag queen who hosts a “Sassy Saturdays Drag Brunch” on the second Saturday of each month, starting Nov. 12.

The email, which got sent to FFXnow, also threatened to “shoot up any drag performers we see there.”

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that it was alerted to the threat and had officers on the scene that day.

“Officers searched the building and did not find anything suspicious. Officers remained in the area throughout the day,” the FCPD said. “Detectives are continuing to investigate the threat.”

The department said anyone with information about the incident can contact its detectives at 703-691-2131. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.

“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you,” the FCPD said.

Blue Iguana and the company that organized the brunch didn’t return requests for comment by press time.

While no violence occurred in this instance, drag performers and the LGBTQ community have been subjected to a surge in threats, harassment and hate crimes both locally and nationally over the past year.

GLAAD identified 124 incidents in 2022 of protests and threats specifically directed at drag events, a trend that the advocacy group links to a rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric from right-wing politicians, pundits and social media.

Released on Nov. 22, the report didn’t include the Nov. 19 shooting at Club Q in Colorado, since police hadn’t officially declared a motive at that point. The gunman was charged with hate crimes last week for shooting 22 people, killing five of them, during a drag queen’s birthday celebration.

In Fairfax County, police have recorded an escalation of anti-LGBTQ bias incidents and crimes in recent years, with cases jumping from seven in 2017 and five in 2018 to the double digits every year since 2019:

  • 2019 — 10
  • 2020 — 10
  • 2021 — 11
  • 2022 — 14

The department says the threat against Blue Iguana would be classified as a bias crime, which is defined as an unlawful action against a person or property due to their race, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability or sexual orientation.

Earlier this year, a Starbucks in Clifton was vandalized twice and had its Pride flag stolen, and Fairfax County Public Schools had to shut down an Instagram account that targeted LGBTQ students.

Though not a criminal incident, the McLean Community Center drew criticism last year for supporting a “Drag Queen Storytime” event at Dolley Madison Library in June 2021. Opponents equated the event — where drag queens read picture books to kids — to porn or “adult entertainment.”

Drawing on familiar homophobic stereotypes and obscuring drag’s history as a form of personal expression, arguments that drag is inherently sexual and dangerous to kids have taken hold among protestors — including in the threat against Blue Iguana, which accuses the targets of “grooming our children” — and legislators looking to ban minors from events.

Photo via Google Maps

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