In a remarkable display of community support, close to 100 people in Shepparton rallied to back the LGBTIQA+ community following the cancellation of a drag queen story time event. This event, initially scheduled at Goulburn Valley Libraries, was called off after safety concerns arose from a protest the preceding Sunday. Despite this setback, the community spontaneously organized a pop-up story time outside the library.
The Event’s Impact
Drag artist Dean Arcuri, also known as Frock Hudson, took center stage, reading stories to children as adults gathered around. This impromptu event, organized by the Rainbow Community Angels, a local LGBTIQA+ advocacy group, served as a powerful statement against intolerance. Flis Marlowe, co-founder of the group, emphasized the importance of such events in providing visibility and support for trans young people who might feel isolated or vulnerable.
Opposition and Support
The event wasn’t without opposition. A protester, Calli, expressed her discomfort and disapproval of men dressing as women, citing moral objections. However, the predominant atmosphere was one of inclusion and celebration. Greater Shepparton City Council councillor Sam Spinks echoed the sentiment of many supporters, stressing the significance of such events in promoting a love of learning and reading in a fun and inclusive environment.
A Pattern of Cancellations
This incident in Shepparton is part of a broader pattern of targeted actions against LGBTIQA+ events. Similar events in rural Victoria have faced postponements or shifts to virtual platforms due to safety concerns. Despite these challenges, Frock Hudson remains optimistic about the future of drag queen story time events, highlighting their role in entertaining and educating children in a joyful and inclusive manner.
The Road Ahead
The community’s response in Shepparton signifies a strong support system for the LGBTIQA+ community, demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity. These events, more than just story times, represent a broader fight for acceptance and equality, symbolizing the ongoing struggle and perseverance of the LGBTIQA+ community in regional Australia.