Support pours in for storytime drag queen
DRAG Queen Storytime events at Maylands Library have been targeted by homophobic protest flyers.
The events feature drag queens reading to children and parents, typically with themes of inclusion and self-acceptance.
Local drag queen Cougar Morrison says she was singled out in flyers which were posted in letterboxes near the Maylands library in the lead-up to the storytime on Saturday March 25.
The flyer says “Save our children!” and that “the City of Bayswater are hosting a transvestite event for children and they’re funding it through YOU, the ratepayers,” calling on people to contact the library and council to cancel the events.
Morrison says whoever put out the flyers must have trawled through years of her social media posts to find her more salacious-looking photos and posts featuring jokey double-entendre gags.
But the pictures were taken from night-time performances at nightclubs, and Morrison says her story time attire is far more modest.
“We’re dressed very conservatively,” Morrison told us. “Granted, very conservatively with lots of rhinestones and makeup. But this person who created the flyer deliberately chose pictures of me when I’m not at Storytime.”
She says a drag queen’s evening performances are analogous to an actor doing a horror film or raunchy romcom, and no one assumes an actor can’t be around kids because of a movie.
“The flyer did allude to the idea that I’m not safe around children, which is absolutely a fallacy!” Morrison says.
“I, like all people who present Drag Storytime, have a valid and current working with children check.”
Morrison says it’s possible whoever printed the flyers was emboldened by the recent visit to Perth of UK anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker, or recent anti-LGBTI+ rhetoric that’s had a resurgence in the US amid claims gay and trans people are trying to convert children.
“They think that Drag Queen Storytime is responsible for people coming out early,” Morrison sighs. “I know firsthand that Drag Queen Storytime doesn’t turn people queer or trans, because I, like every member of our rainbow family of my generation, grew up without Drag Queen Storytime and we all grew up gay as Christmas-time anyway.”
There’s been a strong show of support in the wake of the flyers’ distribution. Bayswater council admin and the Maylands Library got scores of phone calls and emails, and mayor Filomena Piffaretti said “the feedback the city’s received about its Drag Queen Storytime has been overwhelmingly positive”.
All up there were 89 emails and two phone calls, plus social media messages in support. There were three negative responses by phone and social media.
Speaking at the March 28 council meeting, Cr Piffaretti said: “Drag Queen Storytime encourages early literacy and a love of books while celebrating the differences that make us unique. The sessions promote inclusiveness and recognise the diversity that exists in our community.”
Morrison says she won’t step back despite the “emotional beating this weekend”, but added the show of support afterwards was “really humbling”.