Two drag events, one in Illinois and the other in Texas, were canceled this week after receiving threats.
On Monday, the Downers Grove Public Library near Chicago announced that it was canceling a drag queen bingo that had been scheduled for National Coming Out Day (October 11) “due to threats made against” the library.
The event had been aimed at teenagers and was to be hosted by drag queen Aurora Divine.
“Providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe space for everyone in the Downers Grove community is of the utmost importance to the library,” the organization said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “We recognize the significance of offering services and programs like Drag Queen Bingo that provide a window to the world, as well as a mirror to it, creating opportunities for patrons to see the wonderfully diverse community in which we live. Unfortunately, in this case, it is not possible to provide a safe place for everyone due to the threats made.”
The statement did not delve into the nature of the threats, which are under investigation, although did specify that the organization was “disappointed and saddened by … some of the vitriolic feedback that we received for what was meant to be an evening of fun and celebration of self-identity and self-expression.”
The drag queen bingo show, which had been announced over the summer, had previously been targeted publicly by a local Republican politician who denounced the event as “inappropriate” and “an unacceptable use of taxpayer funds,” NBC reports.
Meanwhile, in Denton, Texas, Cool Beans Bar and Grill was forced to cancel a Disney-themed drag brunch Sunday following threats made by conservative groups.
The event had been targeted by right-wing TV host Sara Gonzales and conservative gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines, who called for followers to help them shut the brunch down, the Advocate reports. Gonzales accused the bar of trying to “indoctrinate” children and referred to the staff as “pedophiles.”
Cool Beans canceled the event because “Having a safe space … takes precedence over all else,” the bar said in a statement released on its Facebook page. It also cautioned that the cancellation “is not a ‘win’” for the agitators, saying, “Shame on you for putting fear into us with your threats, your horrible DMs, your aggressive phone calls, and hateful comments.”
It continued, “Us canceling is not out of agreement, but out of fear for our employees, performers, and customers safety.”