ABC pulls plug on Drag Storytime after hateful backlash

Drag queen Courtney Act on Play School's Storytime program
Images: ABC

The ABC has put a planned Drag Storytime event for Mardi Gras on ice after “hateful and offensive” backlash from protesters.

The national broadcaster is again hosting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade broadcast on March 2.

Recently, the ABC extended an invite to rainbow folk and their young children to a planned Drag Storytime event at a Sydney library.

The family-friendly event, for 3-5-year-olds, was to be filmed and included in the ABC’s Mardi Gras coverage.

But screenshots of a Facebook callout, posted to the closed Rainbow Families Facebook group, were soon shared online by opponents, who hurled the abuse at the broadcaster via a supplied email address.

As a result, the ABC has announced the event wouldn’t go ahead as planned.

“The ABC condemns the hateful and offensive response we have received from some individuals in response to the call out for this event,” a spokesperson said.

“The event will no longer be held at the Rockdale Library. The ABC is considering how we can safely host it.

“These events are designed for families and are regularly held in public spaces.”

The ABC spokesperson also reminded people that they are the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ official host broadcaster.

“As part of this partnership, the ABC showcases the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, aligning with its Charter obligation to reflect all Australians,” they said.

Threats force Drag Storytime cancellations

Unfortunately, the sad backlash against the event is no surprise. Throughout 2023, bigots have targeted family-friendly Drag Storytime events across Australia.

This week, Hill Shire Liberal Councillor Jeremy Cox put forward a motion to ban council support for “drag or sexualised material designed to target children”.

In response, Sydney drag performers slammed Cr Cox for promoting misinformation about Drag Storytime events.

“The aim of Drag Storytime is always to promote age-appropriate of celebrating diversity and encouraging authentic self-expression,” drag performer Woody said on Tuesday.

“[Drag Storytime events] are joyful experiences for children, parents and performers alike.

“I think it does everyone a disservice when these events like this are shut down by people who haven’t taken time to be part of the magic of them.”

Coordinated threats against councils, libraries, staff members and organisers have led to the cancellation of events over safety concerns.

Homophobic campaigns against Drag Storytime have also sparked protests at council buildings and local libraries.

In Melbourne, fed-up LGBTQIA+ locals formed the group Rainbow Community Angels last year.

Volunteers wear large rainbow angel wings to protect people attending the events. The angels have also hosted some of the cancelled Drag Storytime events themselves.

Find out more:

Drag story time protesters hurl abuse at Melbourne council meeting

Community angels host Drag Storytime after event cancelled

Sydney councillors make big move in support of Drag Storytime

Courtney Act hits back at Liberal MP’s vile Drag Storytime ‘grooming’ slur

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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