A drag event for young people was cancelled after it was targeted with troubling threats.
Youth drag shows have become the latest obsession for anti-LGBTQ+ bigots, with Republicans including representative Marjorie Taylor Greene vowing to outlaw them.
That political posturing is already spilling over into real-life violence and abuse. On 11 June, a group of alleged Proud Boys stormed a Drag Queen Story Time event in California, exposing children present to violent anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.
Now, a youth drag workshop and show in Moline, Illnois has been cancelled after persistent threats toward participants and organisers caused safety concerns.
The event was to take place on Saturday (18 June), having been organised by LGBTQ+ nonprofit Clock Inc.
But Clock Inc was forced to cancel after it was deemed unsafe. Executive director Chase Norris said on Thursday afternoon (June 16) that the decision was made after negativity and threats against the venue proved “too substantial” to ensure the safety of young attendees.
“We regret to inform you that out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled the Youth Drag Workshop at Bass Street Landing this Saturday,” Clock inc. said on a Facebook post.
“The safety of all involved is of the utmost importance and with the current politicised climate and some threatening emails received at the venue, we feel it in everyone’s best interest to cancel.”
The group, known for its Rock Island community centre, said that several threatening emails were sent to “all organisations involved”, including the local HIV support group Project of the Quad-Cities.
The Project’s spokesman Tyler Mitchell said he understood the closure but was still saddened that Clock, which is “very focused on keeping the people it serves safe”, had to cancel the event.
“Even if it were just protests, the emotional safety of the young people who would have participated in the show is also important,” Mitchell continued.
I’m introducing a bill to make it illegal for children to be exposed to Drag Queen performances.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) June 15, 2022
The backlash against youth drag events began when Republican Texas state representative Bryan Slaton announced plans to ban children from attending drag performances.