Framewerk Gallery, the facilitators of the Drag Queen Story Time event for children have asked for the support of the public following online backlash. Taking place in Belfast’s Holywood Arches Library, the Story Time event featured local drag queens such as Electra La Cnt (whose second name wasn’t referenced on the day) reading to children.
Their post to Facebook stated “To anyone who attended our Drag Queen Story time in July, or supporters of the event. We need your help. The Gallery and Performers have been under repeated attack from hate speak, derision and actual call for boycott. We are strong. We can handle that.
What we need from you is to email Library NI with messages of support for the event. What events like this mean to you. Why they should continue. The Library have been every inch as supportive as you would expect- but it is an institution of the People and feedback is very important.” They gave the contact of [email protected] for those who attended to show support.
Describing the backlash, the organisers highlight mentions by DUP councillor Nelson McCausland and say the Library was forced to remove a post about the event “as the amount of bile spouted by small minded keyboard critics was too much for them to police. They 100% stood behind us, never was the event in threat of not going ahead.”
Electra herself also posted to her Facebook page saying “To have members of the DUP publicly saying they are stalking my Facebook, and now to see Nelson McCausland taking images from my Instagram to put on his blog is disconcerting to say the least. There have been attempts to find out my “real name” and further information about those involved in the Drag Queen Story Time event, and I believe this is being done to intimidate.”
Electra made headlines when she delivered a powerful statement at Stormont addressing the Northern Irish LGBT+ community asking them to stop validating hate speech by engaging with bigots.
In the statement she said: “Those who oppress us are bigots, bigots who refuse to change their mind and instead prefer hate over love and I will not engage with those people any longer.”
In response to the attacks, Framewerk have launched a crowdfunding campaign stating “In recent months, Framewerk, Libraries NI and most importantly the Performers of Drag Queen Story Time have been the target of several attacks from those who wish to prevent us from spreading our message of love and acceptance to children in Northern Ireland. This has made us more determined in our refusal to be silenced. Now more than ever we need your help to fight back against these anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.”
They continue: “Our goal is to strengthen our organisation with the opening of a new Feminist and Queer led Gallery Space in East Belfast named The 343. As a Charity we will aim to ensure that our local LGBTQ+ community across the country have the space and resources they need to face backlash in their own communities. We hope you’ll join us in spreading our playful passion to all corners of our country and support our building of this welcoming and joyful space.”
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