NWAWS responds to backlash over events for LGBTQ+ community

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Two events hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter are getting some backlash from the LGBTQ+ community.

The two events are being held June 5th at The Momentary in Bentonville- one to raise money, the other for community involvement.

While the shelter said its intent is to better serve the LGBTQ+ community, some are questioning its motives.

“They all want to participate in pride, but they are just in pride for image,” said Bellamy Brooks.

Brooks is a trans woman who has done volunteer projects with the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter. She said she is raising a flag regarding the two events the shelter is holding this summer: the “Purple Reign” drag show and the “You Belong” community resource fair, which was originally called “Bentonville Pride.”

While the resource fair is not a fundraiser, Stacy Seger with NWAWS said Purple Reign is, which concerns Brooks.

“I want to see them be more accountable and more transparent,” Brooks said. “If they take this money, they need to put it in a separate fund specifically just to help LGBT.”

Seger said all money coming in from the event will help hire a full-time advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and help provide housing for those who need help after 30 days inside the shelter.

“Domestic violence affects that community at much higher rates than almost any other demographic,” Seger said. “They are a community that is underserved and underrepresented in a lot of organizations, so we wanted to make sure that everyone saw us as an organization that serves and welcomes all people.”

“If you’re gonna claim you support our community, you have to from a foundational standpoint include inclusion in your bylaws and everything.”

A representative tells KNWA/FOX24 The Momentary is co-presenting “You Belong” but has no involvement with “Purple Reign” which is being held on its grounds.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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