Pro-Family Activists Arrested for Peacefully Protesting Rome “Transqueer” Pride Parade

Pro-Family Activists Arrested for Peacefully Protesting Rome “Transqueer” Pride Parade

Rome, GA – Today a group from the Etowah Republican Assembly led a protest against the City of Rome’s “Transqueer Pride” parade. They were joined with members from a local church and other concerned citizens. Police arrested four of them as they peacefully waived signs from the side-walk in view of the people participating in the parade.

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This second annual event for the city features “trans” men dressed as women performing highly sexualized dances and other acts, although it was marketed as a “family-friendly” event that children were encouraged to attend. One witness reported a 4-year-old boy wearing a girl’s dress. The child’s parents encouraged him on to the stage with the drag queens where one drag queen grasped his hand and attempted to induce him to dance with him. The child seemed terrified and bolted from the stage. The protesters believe sexually provocative events like these should be restricted to adult entertainment and not be permitted in public or in the presence of children.

Another witness reported a male attendee wearing a skirt so short that part of his genitalia was exposed in view of the many children in the park. Last year’s “pride” event included bare-chested women and sex toys being sold at eye level of the children.

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“I understand a lot of people are scared of being called names like ‘transphobic,’ but there is a sexualization of children issue going on here,” said Melissa Smith, one of the protesters. “You can’t call something family friendly when it’s sponsored by sex shops. I don’t care about your lifestyle, I care about protecting children.”

“It’s time we wake people up. Someone at some point had to do something about it. Now they want to drag children with autism into it,” said Angela Rubino, one of the activists who was arrested, referencing a social media post from the group’s organizers that specifically targeted gender dysphoric people. A scientific link has been observed between people with autism who also suffer from “gender dysphoria” and that fact has made the autistic community a new target for trans groomers.

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The four people arrested were charged with “unlawful assembly.” However, the protestors say that they were simply exercising their First Amendment-protected rights of freedom of speech and right to peaceably assemble. They were not hurting anyone, not inciting any riots, nor even speaking over the “trans”-performers who used amplification equipment. Peaceful counter protests are a common and accepted part of American life.

Brad Barnes, Angela Rubino, David Smith, and Melissa Smith were the four Etowah Republican Assembly members from the group who were arrested by police. They reported that the policemen seemed awkward and embarrassed about arresting them.

“They didn’t read us our Miranda rights or nothing!” said Angela Rubino.

Employees at the jail indicated they had never seen anyone arrested and booked for an ordinance violation. In most cases they should have simply received a ticket. They were released shortly thereafter on bail, but in addition to the charge, the four activists were issued a 72-hour ban from all the facilities owned by Floyd County Parks and Recreation. 


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 “If you cannot use your rights, you don’t have them. And if you need to ask permission to use your rights, they’re not rights, they’re privileges,” said Barnes, President of the Etowah Republican Assembly. “For me it was the intersection of defending children from what is obviously inappropriate for anyone, and defending the Constitution.”

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Prior to the event, Etowah RA members contacted the local business leaders who were sponsoring the event and shared the appalling evidence of child targeting from the prior year’s event. One of the officers said the pressure they brought to bear on the sponsors of the event had been successful, causing the organizers to cancel the drag queen story hour portion of the event. The negative social media buzz they created also caused the promoters to remove many of the “bring your children” messages from their social media posts.

The Etowah Republican Assembly chapter had protested this event last June and have been working with local officials for several months to prevent the harm to their community from occurring again. The City Ordinance they allegedly violated says that citizens may not gather without a permit, thereby allowing local authorities to determine the time and location of the gathering.

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Barnes, Rubino, and others met with senior law enforcement and the Public Safety Committee ahead of time and expressed their concerns with the event as well as with the constricting ordinance. An attorney at the Public Safety Committee meeting acknowledged the pro-family activists made a strong constitutional argument against the ordinance and indicated it needed to be revised or re-written. Nevertheless, the Police made it clear that if the activists wanted to protest the event, they needed to get a permit, which likely would have specified that they could only assemble out of sight from the “transqueer pride” parade, and if they protested without a permit, they would be arrested.

The activists discovered that the Rome Police were in fact hired by the “pride” event organizers to provide additional private security. It is estimated that they were being compensated $8,000 for the service.

“This is a huge conflict of interest,” said Barnes. “It is most definitely viewpoint discrimination.”


One of those arrested was David Smith, an independent citizen journalist who stood with the protesters but never held a sign. “I was there just to document things,” he said. “Just as I started getting footage with my drone, the cops came toward me to ask my name.”

“The cops ‘just follow orders’. That excuse eventually stops working,” said Smith.

While the Etowah Republican Assembly was working both behind the scenes and publicly to oppose the child abuse of the drag queens, the Floyd County Republican Party had zero presence or engagement with the issue.

‘I was disappointed [by the Floyd GOP], but not surprised,” said Rubino. “This just shows the corruption we have here in Floyd.” 

One has to wonder, why has the Floyd County Republican Party failed to use their clout and connections in the community to speak out against this event that so clearly violates basic Republican principles and morality? Why not use the network and resources of the local GOP to support their fellow Republican activists in their hometown with this protest effort?

While many county GOP organizations have recently experienced a turnover in leadership, favoring principles and accountability over politicians, the Floyd GOP seems to remain business as usual, simply getting professed Republicans elected. Reports show that accountability-oriented activists, like those in the Etowah Republican Assembly, were told to leave a recent Floyd GOP meeting where the local leaders were considering new, more stringent requirements for anyone wanting to run for leadership within their organization.

The four courageous Republican Assembly members have a court date in the weeks ahead. Attorneys working with the Georgia Republican Assembly have already agreed to provide them with counsel.


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