News, Queensland

Young Liberals crash Brisbane drag storytime with protest

A drag queen storytime event for children in Brisbane has been crashed by protesters allegedly chanting homophobic slurs.

The event at Brisbane Square Library this afternoon was hosted by local performers and supported by the city council and Rainbow Families Queensland.

Drag queen storytime, held regularly in libraries and other community facilities around the country and internationally, is intended to teach children to love reading as well as appreciating diversity and self-expression.

Sunday’s event was interrupted by members of The University of Queensland (UQ) Liberal National Club, who entered the library space after the story reading and “harassed and disrupted” the performers and children.

Video of the incident posted to Twitter shows a group of people chanting “drag queens are not for kids”.

Library security reportedly removed the group, and the police were called.

Rainbow Families Queensland said that the protesters had caused the children to feel unsafe.

“The event was a beautiful celebration of diverse families run by two Blue Card–registered and fully trained drag queens, and the children enjoyed singing and dancing, reading, and doing craft,” they said in a statement.

“Drag queen storytime is a highly successful event that has been held four times in Brisbane over the past two years, inspired by similar events currently being held in public libraries across the world.

“Sadly, a group of people disrupted the event towards the end, chanting homophobic chants and causing distress to the children and parents attending.”

Performer Johnny Valkyrie said he will pursue legal action against the protesters.

“The UQ Liberal National Club protested, harassed, and disrupted the event and the library patrons,” he said on Facebook.

“I will be engaging maximum legal action against this group, and the university will be notified.”

Rainbow Families Queensland Coordinator Holly Zwalf said she was disappointed at the disturbance.

“Love makes a family. There’s no room for hate in our hearts,” she said.

Ahead of the event, the UQ Liberal National Club had posted the event on their Facebook page, accusing it of being “moral filth” and calling for protest.

“Shame on the Brisbane City Council for sponsoring this event,” the post read.

“What people do behind the closed doors of a nightclub is their business, but this event is designed to indoctrinate and sexualise young children.

“Why is this moral filth being paid for by the taxpayer?

“Brisbane City Council, why are you giving money to these sick individuals?”

Supporters of the page called the event and performers “rubbish” and a “sub-human disgrace”.

A council spokesperson reiterated the council’s support of the event.

“Brisbane City Council embraces diversity and champions tolerance and inclusion of all people, whatever their race, culture, lifestyle, or religion,” they told Pink Advocate.

Councillor Vicki Howard distanced the LNP from the group, calling the protest “completely inappropriate”.

“The group that staged this protest today has no affiliation with the LNP and the actions of this small group of narrow-minded individuals are appalling,” she told Pink Advocate.

“The small group of people involved in this completely inappropriate display do not in any way represent how we as a council and the LNP feel, and it is not and never will be tolerated.

“They are not a part of the LNP.”

Howard said that the council supported the events.

“Every family is different, and Brisbane City Council acknowledges this fact and celebrates our different cultures,” she said.

“Staging this event reflects the values of Brisbane City Council, of inclusion, tolerance, diversity, and celebration of all members of our Brisbane community.”

“Today [we] took a stand to defend LNP values against a corrosive gender ideology,” the UQ Liberal National Club posted on its Facebook page after the event.

Valkyrie said in a statement that reading to children in drag was “no different to dressing up like a fairy and hosting a child’s party.”

“The UQ Liberal National Club have nothing to stand on but hatred,” he said.

“I am not upset anymore. However, I am aware of the extent that homophobia and transphobia exist in Australian society, even among young people in university.”

Footage of the library incident has spread on social media, with community members and even Veronicas member Jessica Origliasso condemning the actions of the university group.

The UQ Liberal National Club has been contacted for comment.

Rainbow Families Queensland has asked for anyone with footage of the event or who is willing to make a witness statement to contact them.

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