An LGBT-friendly Catholic church in San Francisco which banned drag queens from its premises has reversed the decision after the church’s business manager said the new pastor had: “not been educated about the importance of drag queens in the gay community.”

Pastor Brian Costello told members of the Castro Country Club, an LGBT addiction recovery group, that they could not hold their harvest festival fundraiser at the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church if drag queens were to be present.

Church business manager Michael Poma said he quickly reversed his decision: “Father Brian wasn’t educated about the importance of drag queens in the gay community.

“Once it was explained to him, he said they were welcome to attend as long as their behavior was church-appropriate.”

Church officials are now saying the policy was not a prohibition against drag queens, but rather an end to one-off events not directly connected with the church.

Mr Poma said the ban applied to all outside events – gay or straight – including weddings, parties and fundraisers; however, the church still plans to hold its own events, including 12-step programmes, dinners for the homeless and HIV/AIDS support groups.

He added: “This is not a ban on drag queens or an insult to the gay community. In the church hall there have been issues with weddings and other groups, so we decided to put an end to them altogether. We are part of the community here and to think that we’re banning drag queens is obnoxious and ridiculous.”

Castro Country Club members; however, see the situation differently. The club’s board told the Bay Area Reporter: “In previous years, we have had Ivy Drip and Heklina, both well-known entertainers and community fundraisers, serve as emcees of the event, and we felt we could not in good conscience abide by the new policies.”

The end to outside events was to take effect at the end of September, but pushed forward after the church consulted with the San Francisco Archdiocese.

Spokesman for the Archdiocese George Wesolek said there had been several events on the premises that were “church-inappropriate.” The San Francisco Gay Softball League allegedly held an event there consisting of men stripping and simulating sex acts.