A drag storytelling event at a Dublin library was cancelled due to degrading comments made online about performers and library staff.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council cancelled the Drag Story Time event, which was due to take place at Deansgrange Library on June 26 as part of the Pride festival.
It was due to take place at Deansgrange Library and was described as “the first-ever drag storytime event, providing families with positive and unabashedly queer role models”.
Glitter Hole, the drag collective which was to run the event, criticised the council’s approach and said it has been subjected to “extremely violent homophobia” in recent days.
The library initially said that it was cancelling the event due to concerns about whether it was age appropriate.
It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that our upcoming Drag Story Time event has been cancelled by @dlrcc
We were contacted by DLR last month and asked to put on one of our drag storytelling performances to celebrate Pride. 1/6 pic.twitter.com/yCWHz2ImvC— Glitter HOLE (@GlitterHoleDub) April 15, 2019
However, it has since clarified that this was not the case and that, instead, the decision was taken due to “significant concern at the high level of degrading, inappropriate comments on social media about the performers and library staff”.
“Dlr Libraries object to homophobia in all its forms and, as per our social media guidelines, we reserve the right to remove content or comments that may be considered offensive, abusive, or defamatory,” the county council said in a statement.
“Health and safety is always at the forefront of our concerns. We would like to reassure the public that this event is age-appropriate and family-friendly. Dlr Libraries remains safe, inclusive, and welcoming places for all and offer a diverse, cultural programme.”
Glitter Hole said it was contacted by the council last month and asked to put on one of its drag storytelling performances on June 26 for this year’s Pride festival.
It said over the past weekend that it was “inundated with extremely violent homophobia from a frighteningly large group of bigots who believe that a few drag queens reading books to children amounts to child abuse”.
Glitter Hole criticised the council’s approach. It said that linking the cancellation to age concerns implied that the performers are “the risk in this scenario”.
“We have performed drag storytime three times now and the response has always been entirely positive. We believe in the importance of this event and are determined to continue presenting it,” Glitter Hole stated on Twitter.
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It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that our upcoming Drag Story Time event has been cancelled by @libraries.dlr We were contacted by DLR last month and asked to put on one of our drag storytelling performances to celebrate Pride and I wasn’t aware that it had been announced by them yet. Over the weekend we have been inundated with extremely violent homophobia from a frighteningly large group of bigots who believe that a few drag queens reading books to children amounts to child abuse. The library decided that the event was a safety risk, which we accepted given the scale and gravity of the vitriol that was being spewed on twitter. However, the statement issued by DLR last night cites “age appropriateness” as their reason for cancellation. The implication here is that the content of our drag shows for adults has deemed us inappropriate children’s storytellers. There is no mention in this statement of the safety concerns for the performers and audience of the event due to the ongoing abuse we’re receiving online. It seems like the most despicably archaic homophobia to me that DLR have labelled the queer people the risk in this scenario. The irony is that we were booked for Pride and yet after having hate speech directed at us all weekend, DLR have responded to that by deciding that we are incapable of providing an age appropriate family event. We have performed drag story time three times now and the response has always been entirely positive. We believe in the importance of this event and are determined to continue presenting it.