Seattle line dance competition kicks out team over American flag-themed costumes that 'triggered' audience members

Most of the complaints were from people “associated with the situation in Palestine and the Trans community.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A women’s country line dancing team was told that their American flag-themed matching outfits made a group of attendees at a Seattle dance convention "associated with the situation in Palestine and the Trans community" feel “triggered and unsafe” and that the women could not wear the star-spangled outfits for their performance.

The Borderline Dance Team, which has members across Washington, was scheduled to perform at the Emerald City Hoedown in Seattle on Saturday. According to Borderline, the festival had been asking the group to participate for three years, but they were previously unable to due to the convention’s COVID restrictions.

The group stated in a Facebook post, “Dance teams work their boots off preparing for performances like these. Extra practices, babysitters, ferry rides, hours upon hours of practice and commute time and time away from their families. We all were very excited to perform for this event.”

Unfortunately, the team was told when they arrived at the convention that their Stars and Stripes-themed tops “were offensive to some of the convention goers.”

There was a small group that felt “triggered and unsafe” with most of the complaints “associated with the situation in Palestine and the Trans community.”

According to the team, “At first, we were told we would just be booed, yelled at and likely many of them would walk out. This did not deter us.”

But then the team was given an ultimatum, remove the flag tops and perform in street clothes, which most of the group didn’t bring because they had traveled in their uniforms, or they would be provided with shirts from previous years.

The third option given was not to perform at all, “which effectively was asking us to leave.”

On the event’s website, Borderline was shown in their matching patriotic uniforms, “So they would have known what we were going to wear."

The team unanimously voted not to perform because they refused to remove their America-themed uniforms.

The West Coast Country Heat, another dance team scheduled to perform at the event, also elected not to perform as “they too proudly don the colors of our country in the same spirit of patriotism that we do. Both of our teams stood in solidarity and put actions to words.”

The Rain Country Dance Association, a non-profit LGBTQ+ dance organization that organized the Emerald City Hoedown, told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI that it “is in the process of reviewing the details of the matter and reaching out to those directly involved. Our organization is committed to our core values of inclusivity and respect,” adding that they would have a “more comprehensive public statement later in the week.”

The organization posted on its social media page: "Hi y’all! After the close of another amazing Hoedown weekend, we know there are some questions about the Saturday night performance line-up. We appreciate y’all giving us the time to clear up misunderstandings and address the situation with people directly involved. We will be posting a follow-up statement later this week once we are able to have those conversations."

Borderline noted in its social media post that there was a “silver lining.”

“Firstly, watching these teams band together was the greatest performance I’ve ever seen. These people are strong, resolute, and unwavering in their patriotism. They are the families and friends of people who have suffered the unimaginable so that we may all have our own opinions and sleep soundly in our beds at night. THAT is why we wear the colors. Because although we may not always agree with the current state of things, we recognize that being an American means true FREEDOM. We all understood and accepted this and walked out with class and dignity despite the discrimination we had experienced.”
“Secondly, the support that we got from the majority of the community and even several of the organizers was amazing. We had individuals from ALL walks of life approach us and the message was clear, ‘We want you.’”

“The outpouring of love and respect was inspiring. There was also a lot of disappointment there. Disappointment in the community they are supposed to feel safe in. Disappointment that the spirit of this event, which is to share our love of country dance, was overshadowed by the political opinions of a small percentage.”

“We only wanted to entertain. We didn’t get to do that, but we did get to make new friends and build some bridges that maybe wouldn’t have been possible without this incident.”
The post concluded, “May you never find yourself in a position where your freedom truly is taken from you. May you always have the choice to agree or disagree with whatever situation you find yourself in. And may you always protect someone else’s freedom to do the same. Whether it be in your favor or not.”
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