Why Is the Indy Youth Carnival Barring Parents?

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

If you live in Indianapolis and want your kids to kick off the summer in a fun way, why not send them to the Youth Carnival, sponsored by Indiana Youth Group? Or maybe not. The event is open to people ages 12-20, with valid ID, but not open to parents.


Planning is underway for the IYG x @indypride Youth Carnival presented by Indianapolis Airport Authority! This fun and exciting event is Wednesday, June 7, from 1-6 pm at the IYG Activity Center.

The event is totally free but registration is required and strictly limited to 200 youth to ensure comfort and safety for all. Register online at https://bit.ly/youthcarnival23

The Youth Carnival is only for youth ages 12-20 with valid ID.

Programming and activities designed especially for parents and guardians of attending youth will be held at the neighboring Trinity Episcopal Church.


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Parents also have the option of “exploring the city” rather than attending the event with their kids. There will be, as the flyer says, food, fun, vendors, and entertainment. But no parents. Perhaps the first question parents should ask is, “Why?”

Back when the Patriot Act was introduced, one of the rationales for the increased scrutiny of American citizens was “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” That argument was seen by many as specious when it came to personal liberty. But if it involves children and sexuality, transparency should be a given.


And if Indiana Youth Group, which lists a number of social programs on its website, a few of which at least at first blush appear to be genuinely beneficial to at-risk youth, is on the proverbial up-and-up, parents should be welcomed and even encouraged to attend. The group says, “IYG offers education and support to parents/guardians, family, and other caring adults. Meetups, online support, and both one-on-one and family counseling sessions are all available.” In its own words:

Indiana Youth Group (IYG) serves young people ages 12-24 who self-identify as LGBTQ+, as well as their ally peers. All programs and services are offered free of charge. 

IYG strives to provide safer spaces to build self-confidence, explore individualism, and develop friendships within the LGBTQ+ community. IYG promotes a space of acceptance, equity, and restorative practices.

We also advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in schools, the community, and through family support services.

I don’t think that any person of conscience wants to see LGBTQ youth abused, neglected, or persecuted. Such behavior has no place in a civilized society, no matter one’s beliefs. But at the same time, one must ask what will be going on at that carnival that cannot be seen by anyone 21 and older. And given some of the behavior that has been exhibited at Pride events in the past, parents have every right to be suspicious. Tiffany Justice, the founder of Moms for Liberty, feels the same, telling The Daily Signal, “Why would parents send their kids anywhere they aren’t welcome?” Unless parents could be considered part of the problem.


I’ve known many gay people and lesbians throughout my years on this earth. A few incidents aside, the majority of them were strongly in favor of protecting children. And again, no person of conscience wants to see children put at risk, LGBTQ or otherwise. At the same time, no person of conscience would argue that every child is LGBTQ or interested in such things.

Not every parent is going to be hostile to a child wrestling with identity issues, even if they disagree. Furthermore, no person of conscience would ever want to see a child potentially exposed to sexually explicit material or activities. Parents deserve to be allowed to attend, if for no other reason than to see for themselves that there is nothing about which to be concerned.

Incidentally, the Indianapolis Airport Authority has clarified that it is sponsoring, not presenting, the event. IYG also receives funding from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which is raised through the sale of IYG vanity license plates.

The Signal said that one parent queried IYG about potential safety issues and was told:

All IYF events and programming are run with staff, volunteers, and trained security personnel. All of these individuals must undergo intensive, thorough background checks with the state and the Department of Child Services, as well as competency, safety, and crisis intervention trainings. [sic]


Be that as it may, if there is “nothing to see” at the event, IYG should not care if parents see it.


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