HOUSTON - Several artists have canceled their appearances at the Houston Whatever Festival over a comment made on Facebook by the event's founder.
Houston Press published a screen-grab of the now deleted Facebook post by HWF founder Jason Price. The image shows a picture of a transgender woman wearing a dress in the Las Vegas airport.
Price writes, "I mean, I know it's Vegas and anything can happen here and does, but he should really be wearing some more clothes going through security at the airport. Yes, I did say HE."
Cassandra Chiles, a transgender guitarist for Houston punk band Giant Kitty said she found the post offensive.
"We have pulled out of the festival because of the transphobic comments that were posted," said Chiles. "We really celebrate diversity and want to make sure we are not associated with something that doesn't share that vision."
Giant Kitty isn't alone. Local bands Rose Ette, Roky Moon and Bolt, Sobe Lash, rapper Genesis BLU and comedian Hari Kondabolu announced on social media that they were pulling out of the April concert.
Price deleted the post on Facebook and posted an apology.
"I am sorry for what I said and to whoever might have been hurt," wrote the HWF founder on his Facebook page. "I have nothing but love in my heard and never want to see anybody uselessly hurt."
The Houston Whatever Festival also posted a note on Facebook calling Price's Facebook post “intolerant" and added, "our festival is about embracing our differences."
But to artists like Chiles, the damage had already been done.
"The intent may not have been to hurt, but the impact was hurtful," she said. "Especially for trans youth, the suicide rates for trans youth is sky high in this country."
Houston Whatever Fest will take place April 1 -2 in East Downtown. It'll feature performances by AWOLNATION and Cold War Kids, among others. But Chiles and her fellow Giant Kitty band mates will not be taking part.
"We have to treat each other with respect no matter who we are, especially in a public forum," said the guitarist. "That's not an excuse to be a jerk to each other."
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