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Let's Learn More with Andrew Grabau 

JAN 25, 2023
  • Anthony Plogger

  • Brandon Banks

As the Missouri House of Representatives discusses the future of the LGBTQIA+ community and the accessibility / censorship of drag performance art, Nclusion Plus enters the fight for rights. Listen in to this interview with Andrew Grabau on 89.5 KOPN where Co-Founders Anthony Plogger & Brandon Banks talk about their start, their history of drag show production, and the severity of legislation circulating the House and Senate. 

Drag performers in Columbia push back against 'fear mongering' by Missouri Republicans

JAN 23, 2023
Diversity breakfast entertainment was ‘G-rated, family-friendly,’ organizer says as GOP accuses city leaders of exposing children to ‘explicit sexual material’

A drag performance last week at a diversity event attended by Columbia middle schoolers was “high-brow and innocent,” not the salacious sexual display alleged by Missouri Republicans, the marketing director for the group behind the performance said Sunday.


annual Columbia Values Diversity Breakfast, timed to be near the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, three members of the drag performance group Nclusion Plus put on a musical show as part of the festivities.


The annual breakfast draws hundreds of attendees of various ages, and this year’s audience included about 30 middle-school aged students from Columbia Public Schools. 


“The approach we took to songs, when we told the entertainers, was to offer something positive, uplifting, a song fit for a general family audience,” Brandon Banks, director of marketing for Nclusion Plus, said in an interview with The Independent.


Hours after the event, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, tweeted that his office was “inundated with calls & emails re: grade school kids being forced to sit through a drag show” at the breakfast.


In his tweet, Rowden included a link to a Substack blog post by Libs of TikTok — which primarily shares content by LGBTQ creators and programs to a far-right audience. Libs of TikTok’s creator Chaya Raichikposted video footage of Thursday’s drag performances on her blog and Twitter.


The subjects of previous Libs of Tik Tok’s tweets have been overwhelmed with violent threats following the account’s posts.


Gov. Mike Parson added to the criticism on Friday, when his official Twitter account stated he was “deeply concerned about reports that Columbia middle school students were subjected to adult performers during what is historically a MLK Day celebration. This is unacceptable.”








And by Friday afternoon, Attorney General Andrew Bailey had sent letters to the Columbia Public Schools and Columbia city officials accusing them of violating laws protecting children from sexually explicit material.


In the nearly identical letters, Bailey accused district Superintendent Brian Yearwood and city Mayor Barbara Buffaloe of working “actively to undermine Missouri’s laws by deliberately subjecting a group of middle-school students to an adult-themed drag show performance.”


Bailey suggested that the performance violated a law requiring parents to be notified of the content of human sexuality education and to be given a chance to opt-out of that part of the curriculum. He also cited a new criminal statute making it class A misdemeanor to give “explicit sexual material” to a student. 


The law defines the prohibited materials as depicting “human masturbation, deviate sexual intercourse (non-vaginal sexual relations), sexual intercourse, direct physical stimulation of genitals, sadomasochistic abuse, or emphasizing the depiction of postpubertal human genitals…”


Nothing even faintly resembling the prohibited explicit material was presented, Banks said.


“There was nothing sexual, nothing of any kind that this performance conveyed,” he said. “This was a completely G-rated, family-friendly, uplighting, motivational, positive experience.”


The conservative backlash, Banks said, ignores the content of the performance to make political points.


“It feels like we are being treated as the chum in the water for the sharks to feed on,” Banks said. “It is just fear-mongering at the end of  the day and it feels like it is taking our community backwards.”


















Each of the Nclusion Plus performers lip-synched a performance to a song – ‘Don’t call me baby’, recorded in 2008 by Kreesha Turner; “This Is My Life,” recorded in 1968 by Shirley Bassey; and Collect my love, a 2015 recording by Alex Newell – and the trio performed together on the finale, “Hold on (for one more day),” a 1990 song by Wilson Phillips.


In an interview Monday, Rowden said he didn’t understand what Banks means by a “G-rated” performance.


“That’s a distinction without a difference and it’s people looking for ways to justify things that they have no business trying to justify,” Rowden said.


The problem, Rowden said, was that the Columbia Public Schools permission slips sent to parents asking that students be allowed to attend did not specifically say that a drag performance was part of the program.


Rowden said he had meetings scheduled with district officials later this week.


“If a parent sent their child to a diversity event without knowing that there was going to be a drag show there, I think there was a failure of communication somewhere,” Rowden said. “So, I’d like to figure out where that was.”


District spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark, in a statement Friday, said “attendees are not provided specific details of the performances in advance of the event.”


Columbia Values Diversity Celebration advertised  the event online as including “entertainment by Nclusion+,” which on its own website says it promotes “LGBTQIA+ events, media, and education.”


The district received complaints from two parents who sent a child to the event, Baumstark wrote in the district statement, and “also received numerous communications from parents who did NOT have students at the event, individuals who do NOT have children enrolled in CPS, and individuals who do NOT reside in our community.”


In a letter to Parson that was distributed to the district’s parents on Sunday, Yearwood pushed back against Bailey’s assertion that the performance violated any laws governing sex education or what materials can be provided to students. 


“Any characterization of the ‘Columbia Values Diversity’ Breakfast as ‘child endangerment’ or having a ‘sexual nature’ or violating state law is categorically false,” Yearwood wrote. “Although CPS was unaware what the performance by NClusion+ would entail, their program was not an ‘adult’ performance. This type of misrepresentation is harmful to our students, our staff, and our community.”


The performers at Nclusion Plus did nothing more risque than might be seen in a high school theatrical performance, Banks said. The only reason it has come under attack, he said, was from people who don’t want children to know that gay people exist.


“If we have to be called into war, so to speak, that is just how we have to respond, to do something to defend our community when they need us,” Banks said. “But at the end of the day, we hope this is a blip on the radar and no harm was truly done.”


Proposed legislation


Two bills seek to add venues that exhibit drag performances to the list of establishments defined as “sexually oriented businesses.”


One of these bills, introduced by freshman Rep. Mazzie Boyd, R-Hamilton, will receive a public hearing Tuesday in the House’s General Laws Committee. 


The House added her bill — and a slew of bills targeting transgender Missourians — to the committee’s agenda Monday.


The label of “sexually oriented business,” which currently includes establishments like strip clubs and adult boutiques, would limit the time and audience for venues presenting drag performances. 


The establishments could only be open until midnight and no minors could enter. If included in the definition of sexually oriented business, drag venues would also be barred from serving alcohol.

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Parents blame CPS for transparency gap after students watch drag show at city event

JAN 23, 2023

COLUMBIA − The city of Columbia held its 2023 Columbia Values Diversity Celebration on Thursday morning. This event has been part of Columbia history since its first celebration in 1994, with a provided breakfast.


Tickets for admission to the celebration were sold out, according to the city of Columbia's website, with more than 1,000 people who attended the event.


The website also said a speech would be made by keynote speaker Renee Montgomery, which was sponsored by Mizzou Athletics, and that there would be entertainment provided by Nclusion+.


That entertainment was a drag show. WE Project posted a video of one of the performances.

In the group of attendees were Columbia Public Schools middle schoolers on a field trip.


After the celebration, some parents posted comments within a Facebook group, "CoMo Citizens for CPS Accountability and


Transparency," explaining they were not informed their child would be watching a drag show. 

CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark told KOMU 8 that attendees are "not provided specific details of the performances in advance to the event."


Approximately 30 CPS students attended the event, Baumstark said. Students from private and parochial schools also attended.


She said so far, the district has received two complaints from parents of children who attended the event, and that the district is communicating with those parents.


But she said the district has seen multiple complaints from parents who did not have students at the event.


"The district has also received numerous communications from parents who did NOT have students at the event, individuals who do NOT have children enrolled in CPS, and individuals who do NOT reside in our community," Baumstark wrote to KOMU 8. 


Gov. Mike Parson posted to his official Twitter and said he was "deeply concerned" about the reports.


Attorney General Andrew Bailey said he has sent a letter to CPS Superintendent Brian Yearwood and Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe, saying the performance has "no place in the public educational system."

Bailey claims the district and city "actively undermined Missouri's laws by deliberately subjecting a group of middle school children to an adult-themed drag show performance."

Bailey also accused the district of "intentionally concealing the sexual nature of the presentation to which they invited middle-schoolers and they they actively discouraged parents from attending."


Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) posted on his official Twitter account and said he received calls and emails to his office from CPS parents voicing their concerns.

Following the event, Buffaloe posted a thread to her official Twitter account, thanking the group who planned it, accompanied with a photo of herself with drag queens who performed.

KOMU 8 News has reached out to Buffaloe and Rowden for comment but has not received a response.

KOMU 8 is a sponsor of the Columbia Values Diversity Celebration.

To report an error or typo, email

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Despite attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights, one local group is hosting 'family-friendly' events to show Missourians they're not alone

DEC 22, 2022

It’s a Friday night in the Arts District. Despite the biting November cold, there’s a warmth in how the loud music floods Serendipity Salon and Gallery.

The space is filled with people excited to play bingo in support of Douglass High School. Drag performers, Artemis Grey and Faye King, take turns lip-syncing to catchy songs and heartfelt ballads. And between performances, they call out numbers until someone gets a bingo.

Star Mezzanotte was one of the night’s winners.

“I am a bingo fanatic,” they said. “I love bingo. I play it as often as they can. So yeah, I always love when I get to win.”


Mezzanotte is also a member of NClusion Plus, a lifestyle production company in Mid-Missouri working to create space for the queer community to “feel at home.” The group is also responsible for putting together the Drag Bingo night on November 18, 2022.


Beyond the chance to win and support a good cause – this event has another purpose - bringing drag into new spaces.


“I always think it's good for people to be able to experience different forms of self-expression, and, you know, things like that, especially people who haven't ever attended a drag show before to maybe get out of their comfort zone a little bit,” Mezzanotte said.


Drag shows hold a cultural meaning within queer history and liberation. And, in addition to providing a place for the queer community to find each other, drag shows offer a space for exploration outside of the gender binary — which is what attracts Faye King, a nonbinary performer.


“It allows me to express myself in different ways,” she said. “It allows me to try new things and have an audience and see what kinds of things I like and what kind of things I don't like, as far as expression goes. And it hopefully allows them to feel the same way that I feel when I'm on stage too.”


For Faye, Nclusion Plus family-friendly events are special because they introduce families and younger audiences to drag since many drag shows are held in bars and require people to be 21 or older.


“Being under those ages, it's a sort of vulnerable time in your life, and having representation matters so much,” King said. “And to know that they're not alone, if they are questioning things like based in like how society kind of tells them to act a certain way, dress a certain way, you can't be this you can be that these queer spaces kind of do allow us to create those moments where we can show that it's okay.”


Spaces free from homophobia and transphobia are becoming harder to find despite still being vital to the community. The American Psychological Association recently found that 72% of the LGBTQIA+ community reported feeling like their rights were under attack.


While environments like this are important across the world, it’s significant that these spaces are in Missouri. It’s one of the 22 states that’s categorized as “high priority to achieve basic equality” by the Human Rights Campaign in 2021.


So, in a state that still has a long way to go for LGBTQIA+ equality, having a space that is open to all can be an important resource. Chris Lehman, one of the co-owners of Nclusion Plus, explained that creating this space to celebrate different types of expression is one of their core purposes.


“We're doing this as a passion project for us,” he said. “So, it's something that we enjoy setting everything up and we enjoy actually facilitating the events and running the events. We're still reaching out and getting to impact different people at different events.”


And for Faye King – back at the bingo night - these spaces are especially important right now as anti-LQBTQIA+ policies and legal battles are putting stress on the community. Policies that aim to prevent transgender students from playing sports, aim to prevent gender-affirming care, and have banned books that have LGBTQIA+ representation.


“The queer community has always been under attack,” King said. “But right now, it's such a sensitive time in our country, that I just, I just think it's really important to just have people know that we're here and we're not going anywhere.”


At the end of the night, when the bingo cards are cleared away, Nclusion Plus raised about $250 for Douglass High School AND created an accessible space for people of all ages to enjoy drag performance, be themselves or explore what that might be.

"Right now, it's such a sensitive time in our country. I just think it's really important to just have people know that we're here and we're not going anywhere."

Faye King


UCM Students
Working at KMOS-TV Earn Telly Awards

AUG 26, 2022

WARRENSBURG, MO – KMOS-TV, the PBS station licensed to the University of Central Missouri, recently received six Telly Awards honoring excellence in local television programming. Three of these awards were given to KMOS student producers competing against established producers in professional categories: Cassidy Lesire, sophomore, created a short documentary about one company’s inclusive message and accomplishments; Paris Norvell, junior, helped viewers learn about the state of online threats from a cyber security engineer protecting a large school district; and Tim Oar, senior, created a touching profile of a thriving community of musicians and historians. All of these productions are available online.

“UCM students employed at KMOS-TV gain experience in all aspects of the operation, and they enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and contribute to the station’s success,” said General Manager Josh Tomlinson. "The fact that these students were honored in categories alongside professionals from organizations like CBS Viacom, The Olympic Channel and Al Jazeera TV is a perfect example of how the talent of the students, the quality of their UCM education and the opportunity provided by KMOS-TV come together to provide an experience like no other." 

Each of these UCM students majors in Digital Media Production, and over the summer two of them continued their education through internships: Norvell with public radio station KCUR in Kansas City, and Lesire with Disney World Florida. After graduating in May, Oar worked with the KMOS production staff on the latest season of the KMOS flagship series “Making.” He currently teaches Dital Media Communications at State Fair Community College in Sedalia.  
Two other KMOS projects honored with Telly Awards were the documentary “Mule Tracks: UCM After 150 Years,” and “The Story of Us: A KMOS American Portrait Special.” “Mule Tracks” received a Bronze Winner in Television – History and a Bronze Winner in Television – Writing.  This documentary explored the founding and continuing history of UCM. “The Story of Us” also received Bronze Telly awards in the Categories of Television – Diversity and Inclusion for its role in a national collaboration featuring stories of individuals living with disabilities.  

More About the Three Student Projects Honored
“Giving Me Life: Nclusion Plus” is a Bronze Winner in the category Online General – Event. Produced by Cassidy Lesire (sophomore, Digital Media Production major), this is a short documentary about the positive messages and accomplishments of a company that specializes in pop-up entertainment events. It features the company founders, as well as the queens who put on the fabulous shows. Some of the other honorees in this category are KHOU CBS Houston, City of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. 

“Zero Day Threat” is a Bronze Winner in Online – Information. Produced by Paris Norvell (junior, DMP major), this short documentary features Evan Nichols, an information security engineer for one of the largest school districts in the state of Kansas discussing what cyber security is and examples of how it takes place in daily life. Some of the other honorees in this category are Al Jazeera Digital, InvestigateTV and ViacomCBS. 

“The Schoolhouse Jammers” is a Silver Winner in Online – Documentary, produced by Tim Oar (senior, DMP major). Since 2003 the Johnson County Historical Society has hosted musical jam sessions which have grown into a thriving community of musicians from multiple backgrounds. Some of the other honorees in this category are The Weather Channel Digital, PBS SoCal and The Olympic Channel.

About KMOS
KMOS is a PBS member television station licensed to the University of Central Missouri. Since 1979 we have broadcast high-quality engaging, educational and entertaining programs to central Missouri. From one original channel broadcast 18 hours a day to four channels broadcast 24/7, KMOS is supported in the community through individual memberships and corporate support, by UCM as well as underlying support from all viewers.

About UCM
The University of Central Missouri transforms students into lifelong learners, dedicated to service, with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation and world. Our 150-acre main campus is located in Warrensburg, with our extended campus, UCM-Lee’s Summit, located at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit, Mo. UCM offers 150 programs of baccalaureate and master’s degree study with outstanding, experienced faculty, and opportunity for study around the world.

About the Telly Awards
The Telly Awards was originally founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials, but added with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world.  


University of Central Missouri student producers at KMOS-TV who were honored with PBS Telly Awards are, from left, Tim Oar, Cassidy Lesire, and Paris Norvell.


Meet Anthony Plogger

JUL 18, 2022

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Plogger.

Hi Anthony, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?

Outside of Nclusion Plus, I am an educator. I am a Middle School Social Studies teacher. I love that by day, I am educating young minds about where our history has been and how we got to where we are today.


With Nclusion Plus, I am not only a Co-Founder of Nclusion Plus but also the Director of Club Content. Through my role in Nclusion I book entertainers, create the shows, find new and recurring locations and so much more. I am proud of what I do because I can provide safe spaces for our entertainers.


I think being an educator and event planner really hones in on my skills and allows me to do two things I love and enjoy doing as a professional, an educator, and a member of the queer community.


Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?


Like any business, it has had its ups and downs. We have experienced successes and failures which is part of every journey.


I would say our successes have made us grateful for the journey and opportunities we have been provided while our failures have allowed us to grow and become abetter organization for our LGBTQIA+ communities.


The struggles have varied, but like every business, we have persevered as a group to ensure we are providing the best and safest entertainment for our customers.


Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Nclusion Plus was created after our local drag bar, Yin Yang Nightclub closed due to COVID-19.


We were regulars of the club and it really took a personal toll on our ability to have a safe space where we could come together, be safe and have fun as a community.


We contacted a few entertainers we knew and wanted to have a pop-up drag show which we hosted on Facebook Live (this was in the heart of the pandemic where we had to follow strict COVID protocols.


After receiving 15,000 views on our first video, we worked as a group of friends (now business partners) to bring pop-up LGBTQIA+ entertainment such as drag, burlesque, weddings, and more to areas in need.


What started in a 1000 square foot office space and a digital camera has grown to 200+ entertainers, close to 50 pop-up locations, and entertainment that has popped up across the state in locations that have never had access to drag before.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Please check out where Nclusion Plus is popping up next by catching our social media at Nclusion Plus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.


We hope to see you at an upcoming event where you are safe and valued as a member of the queer community or an ally.

Contact Info:



Image Credits
Heidi Naomi, Aria, Bella Rose, Alexandria Evangelista, and Nclusion Plus

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Nclusion Plus' all-day Halloween Bash

OCT 22, 2021

Nclusion Plus' BRANDON BANKS and ANTHONY PLOGGER invite everyone to experience All Hallows Eve the LGBTQIA+ way: with a drag show (featuring Maxi Glamour and the "midwest Michael Jackson") and so much more! All ages welcome until 5:00. (3:50) October 22, 2021


Nclusion Plus finds new approach to nightlife and creating LGBTQ community

FEB 22, 2021

By April 2020, the drag performers of mid-Missouri found themselves once again looking for a new home when Yin Yang, Columbia’s sole LGBTQ-dedicated bar that regularly hosted drag shows, closed. Seven friends, all drag show regulars, banded together to birth Nclusion Plus.

Venus O’Hara, who has been performing for 10 years, was asked by the founders to become a performer for their new group.

“It felt heartwarming to me because I had never been reached out to by other gay men before in a friendship way,” O’Hara said. “It meant a lot because I felt like they wanted me to be a part of their lives.”

O’Hara credits having this group of male friends with opening her eyes and teaching her to “look past the stereotypes of the gay society.” This is one goal of Nclusion Plus.

The new business hopes to side-step the traditional obstacles facing most small businesses by relying on a member subscription, providing LGBTQ resources for all ages and forgoing a permanent location.

They are looking to serve the LGBTQ community in a fresh new way that is “member-owned, run, organized and centric,” said Brandon Banks, one of the co-founders of Nclusion Plus.

A place to call home

According to a Gallup Daily tracking survey conducted by the Williams Institute and Movement Advancement Project, 3.8% of the Missouri population identifies as LGBTQ. In 2015, there were 80 victims of sexual orientation-based hate crimes, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Despite mid-Missouri's need, Columbia has seen the opening and closing of five LGBTQ bars, the most recent casualty being Yin Yang. So when news of this most recent closure came, the seven LGBTQ mid-Missourians and friends knew that if they wanted a queer-run establishment to be long-lasting they needed to try something new. Their first question was where their startup funds would come from.

They did the math and realized that between them, they had unconsciously been spending around $1,000 a month on entry costs, tips and drinks at drag shows. Since the start of the pandemic, that money was no longer being used. Rather than pad their own savings accounts, the group pooled their money and used it to fund small virtual shows put on by their friends.

Banks was deemed the “most business-y” of the group and was therefore assigned the role of writing a business plan.

“We don't want to have a location that costs us $5,000 a month, or else we won't be able to afford this more than one month,” Banks said. “We just built our dream list, and we worked backwards essentially.”

Nclusion Plus operates as pop-up entertainment rather than paying rent for a permanent space. Currently, Nclusion Plus hosts their shows in the lower level of Twaddle Orthodontics and at Downtown's Pressed.

"Because we don't have a physical location, we're able to be very nimble. We don't have financial pressure against us that makes us collapse,” Banks said.

An orthodontics office may not seem like an obvious home for drag performers. However, the team, between the dynamic choreography and engaging performances, transforms the space, suspending the COVID-19 reality briefly for a night of fun and glamour.

“We're gonna go wherever people ask us to put on a show,” co-founder of Nclusion Plus, Anthony Plogger said. “If you've got 1,500 square feet, we'll put on the show for you.”

Supporting performers

Nclusion Plus also sets itself apart through its member-orientated approach to business. Rather than having one sole owner, the seven members share the burden of opening a new social club. The performers are encouraged to become members as well, and every member is encouraged to join a committee. This allows the members to have direct control over the decisions of the club, ensuring that it remains true to its purpose of being an inclusive space for everyone and fulfilling the community’s evolving needs.

To further support the performers and members, the founders work with the drag kings and queens to record digital content that teases their shows and promotes their brand as a performer. They do photoshoots with the performers, tag them in the Nclusion Plus social media posts and help them in producing and selling locally sourced merchandise.  

O’Hara was one of the first performers to join Nclusion Plus. She is also one of the primary members of Nclusion Plus’s Education Committee and helps run the Pride Pioneer, which is a monthly publication that highlights local and celebrity pioneers in the LGBTQ community.

“Yin Yang did wonderful things, and they offered me so many shows, but a lot of times it was about the next biggest name we can get, and that’s not always me,” O’Hara said. “I felt like my talent was strong; Nclusion sees that and wants to do everything they can to show that with posters, T-shirts, stickers, slogans and memorabilia, and they even hosted a roast for me for my drag birthday, which I would have never gotten the opportunity to do elsewhere.”

Luna Steelheart, who has been performing in St. Louis and Kansas City for four years, was asked to perform in Columbia at Nclusion Plus shows by her friend and Nclusion Plus founder, Plogger. Since then, she says, her drag has evolved and her fan base has grown. Steelheart praised Columbia’s evolving and adaptive performance scene. 

“Nclusion Plus not only promotes you for them, they promote you for other people,” Steelheart said. “So now I'm almost traveling all over the state to perform, which has been my dream because I would love to turn drag into a full-time gig.”

Along with promoting the performers, Nclusion Plus is working to teach them business and performance skills. Banks realized that new performers starting out weren’t getting the business tips they needed to take their performance to the next level. He knew that time on stage was only a part of the whole picture.

“We also have tried to do some professional development workshops, surrounding building resumes, learning interview skills, perfecting job searches, trying to understand the business of entertainment. It's easy to get on stage and put on an outfit, but do you understand that you're supposed to track your tips and what happens when you are 1099 person versus an employee, and all those things that may not be told to them,” Banks said.

Nclusion Plus works to better educate their performers to help them reach success. Along with professional development workshops, Nclusion Plus hosts a bootcamp performance workshop . During this bootcamp, new performers work with experienced mentors to focus on an area they hope to improve on each month.

Community Education

Unlike other drag spaces, Nclusion Plus is member-focused, so performances are just a fraction of what they do. Their goal is to build a healthy, inclusive environment for the entirety of the LGBTQ community.

“Being in the LGBTQ community, the LGBTQIA community is not always open doors and friendly smiles; it can sometimes be even when you find a safe space, it's not always a healthy space. ... Our mission is really to support the positive environment where the entertainers are valued and appreciated,” Plogger said.

Nclusion Plus is working to create a cumulative portal of resources for the queer community, complete with book suggestions and connections to mental health services, on their website.

Plogger has a personal interest in education and wanted to be sure it was a pillar in the organization’s foundation. As part of his education efforts, he selects children’s books, teenage books and adult books monthly to suggest to the community. These are books written by and or for the LGBTQ community with the goal of educating or including those in the community. Plogger links the books from Skylark Bookstore, a local business in downtown Columbia.

“In the last couple of decades those stigmas have started to subside. And people have been more open minded to even allowing conversations about LGBTQIA+ individuals to exist in their households and in their lives. So, I think that while we have that opportunity, it's more and more important to educate people on how we be safe as a community, this is how we should interact with others, and how they should hopefully understand and interact with us, and then it gets us all into being in a more equal and egalitarian playing field,” Banks said.

Columbia has seen a growing and evolving LGBTQ community, with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic throwing traditional bar owners an extra curveball. Looking for an innovative way to create a home for their community, Nclusion Plus is leading the next wave of entertainment groups with their member-run, pop-up business style. With a focus on resources for the community and a local- oriented model, Nclusion Plus is looking to build a healthy performance and community space for all.

“It's inclusive to everyone and every type of performer,” Steelheart said, “which I think speaks bounds on their characters that they are so open to just everyone. Nclusion is a place of love and acceptance and kindness and family; those are, I would say, their four key fundamentals.”

Nclusion Plus will be hosting two shows this week. Honey D'Moore and Venus O'Hara will be hosting a show at 8 p.m Thursday at Twaddle Orthodontics. Saturday, join Nclusion Plus for Luna's Birthday Bash at Twaddle Orthodontics.


Creating a Place for 'Nclusion' in Columbia

OCT 29, 2020

When the LGBTQ community found itself in need of a new drag show venue, Anthony Plogger and his friends rose to the occasion. 


Yin Yang, a popular nightclub and drag show venue in Columbia had closed in April. Anthony Plogger, a former customer, says it left a hole in the local LGBTQ community.

“It was like a blow to the gut really, because I was there pretty much every Thursday and Saturday for the drag shows that they had there," he said. 

Yin Yang was where drag queen Honey D’Moore got her start.

“When I moved to Colombia five years ago, Yin Yang was kind of like my second home pretty much," said D'Moore. "They were the very first stage to give me the actual opportunity to perform in a competition. And I will always say that Yin Yang is going to be my starting point of my drag career.”

To make up for the loss of Yin Yang, Plogger and his friends started putting on their own virtual drag shows.

“When we first did it, the idea was that we would just have drag shows with our drag friends, like you know, originally it was the virtual shows, so, it was the seven of us and four performers every week at this little office space," said Plogger. "And they threw a show, and in a way it felt like it was us, but we caught such a big following. I mean, our first two shows we had over 15,000 views, each. Whenever we saw that we're like, this could really be something.”

Less than a month after Yin Yang closed, Nclusion Plus was born. Plogger is now the director of club content. But starting a business during a pandemic isn't easy.

“We started with virtual shows and we stream our shows that people can't come in to see," he said. "We are very strict with the COVID, the city says we're doing better than most places. So, you know everyone's six feet apart. We check temperatures, everyone must wear a mask.

"We have to wear the face shield," said D'Moore. "Unless we are going to be six feet or more away from the crowd. It's really nice to actually see people see smiling faces and see them cheering and drinking. “

Thursday, October 8, was the club's first show, at the Atrium on 10th Street. 

One customer, David Hall, says he appreciates their commitment to safety. “And it's just it's great," he said. "So, it's because it's big enough to be spaced out like to be socially distance and to be safe for everybody.”

Danielle Komo, a drag performer and customer, says Nclusion Plus is welcoming. 

“And this place, you know, everyone knows you," said Komo. "It's very friendly. You don't got to worry about anything. So, I like it."

But Plogger says Nclusion Plus isn't just about the performances. The organizers want to advocate for LGBTQ mental health and education.

“Since we've started Nclusion Plus, we have partnered with Burrell Health and we are also partnered or working with The Center Project and also getting in working with all three colleges here in town," said Plogger.

“And they want to be part of the community and they're doing a fantabulous job," said D'Moore. "You know we have a few other events that's coming up in the in the future that is going to be donating to some charities.”

“These performers are here to entertain and be here for the community and that’s why we do this," said Plogger. "We're here for the community itself.”


1 Million Cups Columbia MO:

Join us as we hear from Nclusion Plus

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Jul 29, 2020
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We will hear from Brandon with Nclusion Plus. Nclusion, Inc, operating under the name, Nclusion+Club, Nclusion+Magazine, and Nclusion+Presents is a family of brands that offer the LGBTQIA+ niche audience a subscription-based membership platform that offers members benefits in media, events & more. See more at:
#1MC #1MCMidwest #1MCComo #1MCVirtual

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