A Melbourne drag queen who copped a barrage of online abuse for hosting a children’s storytime event at a Victorian library has said she won’t be deterred and the event will go on.
A Facebook post by Whittlesea Library, north-east of Melbourne, announcing the “Rainbow Storytime” hosted by drag performer Annie Depressant was removed after people criticised the event as “disgusting”, “evil”, and “sick and twisted”.
“Who would subject their children to this mental illness,” one person wrote.
“Yuck, don’t let this monster near any child in an educational setting,” another said.
Some even labelled the event “child abuse” and accused Annie of being a “paedophile”.
The Rainbow Storytime event is described on the library’s website as “a special storytime celebrating diverse families, identity and embracing who you are” and is being held on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) on Friday.
Annie confirmed the event would go ahead despite the backlash, and said it would be a great opportunity for children to experience diversity.
“Part of me was bracing for negativity because it’s just the nature of doing something like this, but I didn’t expect the massive amount of negativity and backlash,” Annie told the Whittlesea Leader.
She said the event would be “the safest place possible for children” and it would give the public “a chance to discover something they have never seen before.”
Annie said a similar story time event she hosted at another Melbourne library earlier this year had received a “fantastic response”.
“It’s an opportunity for children to come speak with me. I had kids talking my ear off about their own artistic endeavours last time,” Annie said.
‘I remind them that I am a person’
The event’s flyer was also posted to conservative Marijke Rancie’s Political Posting Mumma Facebook page, where it attracted hundreds of abusive comments that Annie said were “beyond upsetting” to her.
“I would like to remind them that I am a person,” she said.
“Everything they are saying is being said about a real person and there is nothing inherently inappropriate about being a drag queen.”
Rancie has criticised drag queen storytelling events in the past and was a prominent “no” campaigner during the same-sex marriage postal survey.
Two weeks ago, anti-trans lobby group Binary Australia had a political attack ad criticising a Labor Senator who supported “Drag Queen Story Time” banned by the Outdoor Media Association for breaching its rules.
Binary said on their website the family-friendly drag story time events “sound like a nightmare” and they accused Labor of having a “dangerous agenda to indoctrinate our kids”.
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Drag Queen Story Hour was a huge success. Thank you @librariesinwyndham for having me and I can’t wait to be back again very soon. #AnnieDepressant . . . ??bases and shadows by @kryolanaustralia Lips by @toofaced ??dress designed and made by me ?????? headpiece made by me, inspired by @trixiemattel
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We’re getting into the Midsumma spirit in the library this year with a Drag Queen Story Hour, #UnicornsofWyndham on Instagram, and a great selection of books promoting diversity and inclusivity. Check the events calendar or website for more information. #midsumma #wyndhamlibraries . ETA: February… the unicorns 🦄 are coming in February. We got a little too excited by the glitter to count our r's. 😳