When someone deliberately shot two electrical substations in Moore County last Saturday and took out power for 45,000 people, the Downtown Divas drag show was underway at the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines.
The show had attracted protests, leading many to speculate that the two events were related. Law enforcement has offered few details on leads or motives, but the overlapping events have certainly impacted the performers and their fans.
Naomi Dix, who is based in Durham, was one of the artists who performed, and rallied with supporters before the event. The harassment they received is an “unfortunate reality for those working to increase LGBTQ visibility,” Dix told the Associated Press this week, but pledged it will not be the last performance in Moore County.
“Our job as drag performers is to facilitate and create safe spaces,” Dix said. ”Specifically when it comes to Moore County, and dealing with this situation here in Southern Pines, it’s to find these areas in which there isn’t great representation of the queer community and to provide them with art and a space in which they can feel safe to express themselves.”
Abigail Pittman, a journalism student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was on the ground in Southern Pines last weekend taking photographs for a project. Here are some of the scenes she captured.
“The Moore County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI continue to ask for the public’s help to learn who is responsible for shooting two electrical substations causing a massive power outage,” it posted to Facebook on Friday. “We are grateful for the hundreds of tips we have received and the outpouring of support for our community.”
As CNN reported earlier this week, they are pursuing several investigative lines, including posts extremists have made in “online forums encouraging attacks on critical infrastructure” and disruptions at other LGBTQ+ events across the nation.