Women’s dance team booted from Seattle event for American flag shirts that made some feel ‘triggered and unsafe’

A regional women’s country line dance team was effectively barred from a Seattle dance convention because their red, white, and blue flag-themed shirts allegedly made some attendees feel “triggered and unsafe.”

“The Borderline Dance team was invited to the Emerald City Hoedown in Seattle this past weekend. They said the organizers, the Rain Country Dance Association (an LGBTQ+ dance community), have been inviting them to come to its dance convention for years and they were finally able to accommodate,” Jason Rantz writes for 770 KTTH. “But when they arrived this past Saturday at the event, they said they didn’t get the greeting they were expecting.”

On Facebook, the team addressed the controversy.

“Feelings have ranged all the way from outrage to sympathy to disbelief,” they wrote. “We want to make sure there is complete understanding and truth surrounding the events of Saturday.”

“Our Dance Team along with a few others were scheduled to perform at the Emerald City Hoedown in Seattle on Saturday,” the team explained. “They’ve been asking us for three years to perform but because of their Covid restrictions, we have been unable to until this year.”

Participating in such an event is no small commitment.

“Dance teams work their boots off preparing for performances like these,” the team stated. “Extra practices, babysitters, ferry rides, hours upon hours of practice and commute time and time away from their families. We all were very excited to perform for this event.”

“Unfortunately, what our team was met with upon arrival was that our flag tops were offensive to some of the convention goers,” they wrote. “There was a small group that felt ‘triggered and unsafe’. They had several claims for this reasoning. Mostly associated with the situation in Palestine and the Trans community in America.”

Though the team was initially warned that audience members would likely “boo” at them and walk out, the Borderline dancers were not deterred.

“But then we were given an ultimatum,” the team said. “Remove the flag tops and perform in either street clothes (which most didn’t bring as they traveled there in their uniforms) or they would supply us with ECH shirts from years past… Or, don’t perform at all, which effectively was asking us to leave.”

“It was a unanimous NO,” from the team.

“We were not alone in this. Our friends, West Coast Country Heat, who were also scheduled to dance for the convention that evening also did not perform as they too proudly don the colors of our country in the same spirit of patriotism that we do,” the team reported. “Both of our teams stood in solidarity and put actions to words.”

“My team doesn’t take a political stance,” Borderline co-captain Lindsay Stamp told Rantz. “We came to dance.”

“We’re a patriotic group,” Stamp said. “We support our military, our veterans, our first responders. We’re a group of patriots.”

There was, however, a “silver lining” to the snub.

“Watching these teams band together was the greatest performance I’ve ever seen,” the team’s Facebook statement reads. “These people are strong, resolute and unwavering in their patriotism. They are the families and friends of people who have suffered the unimaginable so that we may all have our own opinions and sleep soundly in our beds at night.”

“THAT is why we wear the colors,” the team said. “Because although we may not always agree with the current state of things, we recognize that being an American means true FREEDOM. We all understood and accepted this and walked out with class and dignity despite the discrimination we had experienced.”

The support the team received “was amazing,” they said.

“We had individuals from ALL walks of life approach us and the message was clear ‘we want you,'” they wrote. “The outpouring of love and respect was inspiring.”

“There was also a lot of disappointment there,” they said. “Disappointment in the community they are supposed to feel safe in. Disappointment that the spirit of this event, which is to share our love of country dance, was overshadowed by the political opinions of a small percentage.”

“We only wanted to entertain,” Borderline said. “We didn’t get to do that but we did get to make new friends and build some bridges that maybe wouldn’t have been possible without this incident.”

“I’ll leave it with this,” the statement concluded. “May you never find yourself in a position where your freedom truly is taken from you.

“May you always have the choice to agree or disagree with whatever situation you find yourself in. And may you always protect someone else’s freedom to do the same. Whether it be in your favor or not.”

Melissa Fine


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