‘We’re not intimidated’: Inner West Council to hold Drag Storytime

Councillor Liz Atkins in Pride Square holding Pride flag
Image: Councillor Liz Atkins, Damun/Stanmore Ward, Inner West Council on Facebook

Following the recent trend of Drag Storytime events being pressured into cancellation through threats of violence from anti-LGBTQIA+ protesters, Sydney’s Inner West council has passed a motion to hold their own — and they won’t be backing down.

QNews spoke with Councillor Liz Atkins for Damun Ward (Stanmore), about the significance of this motion, and what it represents for the Inner West’s LGBTQIA+ community.

“Part of the motivation is about what’s been happening around the country in terms of drag story times,” Clr Liz tells me, referring to the backlash from a vocal minority which has catapulted the phenomena into the national spotlight.

One of the most notable incidents was the cancellation of a Monash Drag Storytime earlier this year due to threats of violence.

This pattern has since grown, with a recent Drag Storytime event in Perth being met with protesters, who were then met with counter-protesters drowning them out with gay anthems.

More recently, a Rainbow Storytime event in Wollongong also saw counter-protesters out-numbering a small turnout of bigots.

And as Clr Liz tells me, this determination will be reflected in the council’s commitment to holding their own events, saying that they will “not be intimidated into not holding” these events.

‘You can not intimidate us’

“Inner West prides itself on being one of the queer capitals of this country,” Clr Liz tells me.

“We’re a council where we have four queer councillors, and I think that makes a difference in terms of actually making things happen.

“We’re obviously a very welcoming LGA and supportive of a diverse community, so we’ve obviously been a focus of some of these groups,” they continue.

This focus was made most prominent during Inner West Pride — an event held earlier this year by Inner West Council in conjuction with World Pride.

“Two businesses that put up big [pride] flags in Summerhill were egged badly so that it baked onto the windows and had to be scrubbed off.”

They goes on to detail other events, including the Christian Lives Matter mob attacking protesters and a prayer meeting being held in the Pride Square.

“The point of having a drag storytime is to say ‘don’t come here and thing that you can intimidate us into not doing the things that our community deserves”.

Representation on all levels of government

As Clr Liz also goes on to reveal, the motion was passed en bloc, meaning the event was part of a larger group of projects that all councillors agreed on.

“We were all elected to council in December 2021, and there have been a number of motions since then which have condemned transphobic behaviour in particular because that’s what’s been hapenning,

“But these people are a small minority, the majority of our community don’t actually support the sort of things being advocated for.”

The motion was moved just days before Clr Liz and other councillors appeared at a trans rights rally, calling for representative leadership at all levels of government.

“We have New South Wales Parliament where Members of Parliament are inviting a panel of transphobic women to come and speak last week,” they tell me.

“Which is why I think representation of queer people at all levels of government is really important because then it’s not swept under the carpet, it’s talked about and things happen.”

The Drag Storytime event is anticipated to take place within the next 12 months.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Nate Woodall

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

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations, Councillor Liz for defending the rights of a minority, while others stand back and let the rabble rule.

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