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HomeNewsChicago-area library cancels drag queen bingo event for teens over 'vitriolic' threats

Chicago-area library cancels drag queen bingo event for teens over ‘vitriolic’ threats

A library in a southwest suburb of Chicago has canceled a drag queen bingo program for youngsters “as a consequence of threats” it has acquired.

The Downers Grove Public Library had deliberate the occasion, which was geared towards seventh by means of twelfth graders, for Nationwide Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

In a press release Monday, the library introduced it was not shifting ahead with this system as a result of “it’s not doable to supply a secure place for everybody because of the threats made.”

Library Director Julie Milavec declined to reveal the character of the threats, however famous authorities are investigating the matter.

“Because of the severity of the threats made towards the library, we now have been pressured to cancel the occasion. It’s our duty to maintain you secure,” Milavec mentioned. “We’re dissatisfied and saddened by the a few of the vitriolic suggestions that we acquired for what was meant to be a night of enjoyable and celebration of self-identity and self-expression.”

This system was going to characteristic drag queen Aurora Divine, a number of rounds of bingo video games and a “quick, age-appropriate” lip-sync efficiency of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” the library mentioned in a press release in late August.

The occasion was meant to “present a window to the world, in addition to a mirror to it, creating alternatives for patrons to see the splendidly various neighborhood through which we reside,” Milavec added.

The library mentioned in August that it had acquired over 300 emails, with suggestions cut up and supporters “barely outweighing opposition.”

Orland Park, Illinois, Mayor Keith Pekau, the GOP nominee for the sixth Congressional District, opposed this system, saying it was “inappropriate.”

“I be a part of mother and father throughout the district in denouncing this occasion, simply as I’d denounce a library introducing youngsters to straight intercourse by holding a burlesque present,” he mentioned in an Aug. 29 assertion. “To be clear, I’ve little interest in regulating the non-public, consensual actions and selections of adults. This occasion, nonetheless, targets kids. It’s inappropriate, and an unacceptable use of taxpayer funds.”

The library had pressured that this system can be applicable and never sexual in nature.

“We wish everybody in our neighborhood to see the library and know they’re represented and cared for right here,” it mentioned.

The library mentioned that an nameless neighborhood member donated the complete value of the occasion and sponsored this system, through which Aurora Divine would have been paid $125. 

Registration was required for the occasion. Curiosity in this system was so excessive, the library had a waitlist.

Officers issued an apology to the kids who registered for the occasion, saying it’s “decided to search out extra methods to assist you and your folks in secure, enjoyable, and inclusive illustration all through the library.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Solid, a Democrat who represents Illinois’ sixth District and is operating for re-election, mentioned in a statement Monday he was “disheartened” to listen to of the cancellation.

He blamed Pekau and Awake Illinois, a grassroots group that decries crucial race concept, saying they “created an unsafe surroundings in the neighborhood.”

“Let’s be clear. This occasion was canceled as a result of, after my Republican opponent and his far-right allies at Awake Illinois publicly issued a call-to-action to their supporters, the library acquired extreme threats that endangered our neighborhood,” he mentioned.

“The sixth District is a spot for kindness, love and decency. Hate has no residence right here,” he continued.

Awake Illinois touted the cancellation on Twitter Monday as a “victory for the safety of youngsters,” accusing the library’s occasion of “focusing on minors.”

In one other tweet, the group mentioned: “We’re grateful legislation enforcement is addressing alleged threats. We hope the library considers occasions for LGBTQ youth that can have integrity and can actually enrich the Downers Grove neighborhood.”

Library officers mentioned they “stand by the occasion and Aurora Divine.”

“Hate didn’t win at this time,” the library mentioned in its assertion.

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