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New Mexico high school principal replaced after prom drag performance

Albuquerque New Mexico Atrisco Heritage Academy High School local drag queen Mythica Sahreen social media post lgbtqia community service
facebook @AtriscoHeritageAcademyHS; instagram @mythica_sahreen

The show, shared online by far-right accounts, divided the local community and reportedly led to death threats against the performer.

Cwnewser

A drag performance at a New Mexico high school prom night has resulted in outrage, death threats against the performer, and more.

Some parents of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School students were upset after the April 20 end-of-year dance after learning that it involved a performance by local drag artist Mythica Sahreen, whose real name is Dylan Payan. Albuquerque Public Schools confirmed that the school’s principal was replaced, and several employees were placed on administrative leave as they investigated the event.

According to Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT, Payan said he received full clearance from the school’s administration, including the student body, prom officers, and the activities coordinator, indicating the performance was officially sanctioned.

Payan is facing severe backlash, including death threats, which he reported to local law enforcement, according to KOAT.

“I’m getting death threats. I’ve already had to report this to the sheriff’s department. It’s okay to have your opinion. It’s okay to express it, but there’s an appropriate way to do that. The fact that I’m being belittled, harassed, and targeted — that my life for the past 36 hours has quite literally been destroyed, and I don’t know where this end is going to be right now. It’s hard, and I’m scared,” Payan said.

The performance has divided community opinion, with some praising the inclusivity and others questioning the suitability of such an act for a high school setting.

In response to the fallout, APS appointed an acting principal.

The event at the Albuquerque Convention Center featured Payan performing in drag, engaging with students in a way some parents later described as more fitting for a nightclub. These concerns were echoed by some community members on social media, where videos of the performance drew significant attention.

The far-right anti-LGBTQ+ account Libs of TikTok, run by Chaya Raichik, escalated the situation by posting a video of the performance on April 24, describing it as a “provocative sexually explicit routine for kids” at Atrisco Heritage.

The Albuquerque Pride Organization, while indicating its support of drag as an art form for all ages, distanced itself from Payan's performance in a statement to KOAT.

“We would like to make it clear that this particular performer does not represent the Albuquerque Pride Organization in any function,” the group wrote. “With that said, we would like everyone to know that while we do support drag performances at welcoming all ages events, at no time do we support sexually suggestive or explicit material at these functions. All ages events provide the opportunity for people to see the art of drag.”

The statement continued, “Drag performance is only a small fraction of our community. Albuquerque Pride is an entire organization built on the principle of inclusion and acceptance. This, however, does not extend to anything that would cause harm to another person. Having this particular situation in mind, with only 10 seconds of video to see, we were able to ascertain that the performance did show an element of suggestiveness. It is up to the performers themselves to be cognizant of their actions and their audience to perform appropriately. Albuquerque Pride will never condone sexually explicit content at any event with minors present.”

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).