Stephanie Steele was one of the drawn drag performers to attend the event. (Instagram)
An LGBTQ+ community event has been reluctantly canceled amid mounting hate messages against organizers and city officials.
Organizers of the LGBTQ+ Outfest in West Chester, Pennsylvania called off the event ahead of its scheduled October 1 date due to massive pushback from anti-LGBTQ+ groups.
The Pride event, held on Gay Street, aimed to create a sense of unity for the queer people in the local area while hosting several large queer demonstrations and talks.
But the organisers, who helped schedule the event, felt it was too unsafe to go ahead due to outcry and opted to postpone it indefinitely.
‘Shocked at the amount of hatred’
West Chester Borough Council President Michael Stefano said NBC Philadelphia: “I was shocked by the amount of hate I received via email this week. It’s clear that there are still members of our community who are afraid of anything different than their own.”
He said the decision had not been made by the borough council and that he was “extremely disappointed” that the permit had been revoked. As per initial reports it is not clearly known who canceled the event and why.
A local Republican committee called on angry members of the public to voice their LGBTQ+ feelings about the incident at a local city council meeting earlier in the week.
In a Facebook post from Friday (September 16), the West Chest Republican Committee asked followers to “please make your voice known to the city council” while falsely calling the incident a “drag show”.
While Drag Outfest would have been present, it was not explicitly dedicated to drag performance and featured many different voices from the LGBTQ+ community.
‘Here to make everyone feel better’
The committee also linked to the Instagram account of drag performer Stephanie Steele, who was set to attend the event. The drag queen commented on the situation abc Interview.
“I adapt to my audience. I always make sure who’s in the audience, are there kids in the audience?” Steele said.
He continued that it was a shame that the event was canceled because it could be a place for LGBTQ+ youth to meet friends and like-minded groups to identify, adding: “Talking to people And it’s nice to tell the kids that if you’re going through something, we’re all here to make everyone feel better.”
Much of the LGBTQ+ rhetoric directed at the outfest organizers appears to be in line with the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ groups attacking drag, indicating that they “teach kids” despite not being for kids or being age-appropriate. “Accept.
In particular, the Drag Queen Story Hour show has faced fierce levels of scrutiny by groups that misunderstand the meaning behind the events.