‘Hateful idiots’ won’t stop drag performer’s story time

Performer Ann Arkii. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Performer Ann Arkii. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Dunedin Pride spokesperson says "hateful idiots" are not going to to derail its storytelling event at the public library.

The Dunedin Pride committee-organised event, Rainbow Stories, where a local drag performer will read stories from the children’s section, is still going ahead on Sunday from noon to 1pm at Dunedin City Library.

The event received backlash when it was announced on social media with threats of protest.

Elliot Weir
Elliot Weir
Dunedin Pride treasurer Elliot Weir said the hateful comments posted on social media "cesspools" did not represent the Dunedin community as a whole.

"We fully expected the possibility of negative reactions from people who are either hateful towards or have a misunderstanding of what an event like this is.

"We’re not going to stop showing up for the community just because of hateful idiots."

The committee was always going to put precautions in place.

Private security had been hired and police had been informed.

Drag performer Ann Arkii, or Ms Annie, reading this Sunday, said the event was celebrating diversity and being yourself.

"I think it’s important for children to see people who are like them, but all grown up.

"I think of myself as a small child, I would’ve been so ecstatic to be read to by this ultimate glamorous lady who’s just so over the top."

Ms Annie said the aesthetic of drag performers being "bubbly, vibrant and campy" was very engaging for children.

"It’s very different to what their usual story time might be and it exposes them to other types of people who are living their lives and are happy.

"It’s not much different than hiring a professional party princess to come to your kid’s party. Having a drag queen just gives it that rainbow element and it helps expose kids to the reality of the world that we live in."

The stories read would be a mix of classic children’s stories and some new queer stories.

Last year, RNZ reported an LGBTQ storytelling event in Christchurch was marred by a group of 30 protesters.

A Dunedin City Council spokesman said the public library was a community facility open to all without judgement or prejudice and it was pleased to be hosting a Pride Month event.

He said the event was scheduled outside other regular library events and parents who brought their children would make a deliberate choice to attend.

The library closed comments on its Facebook post about the event yesterday, saying it did not tolerate abuse or discrimination.