City of Casey Cancels Drag Event After Far-Right Threats

City of Casey Cancels Drag Event After Far-Right Threats
Image: The now-cancelled Art of Drag workshops were set to take place at the entertainment precinct of Bunjil Place from April 5 until May 3. Image: City of Casey

Days after neo-Nazis attended an anti-trans rally on Parliament steps in Melbourne, the City of Casey pulled their upcoming ‘Art of Drag’ workshops from their schedule.

The City of Casey is one of Victoria’s largest and fastest-growing municipalities and comprises outer south-eastern Melbourne suburbs, including, Narre Warren, Cranbourne, Clyde and Devon Meadows.

The Drag event was set to take place at the entertainment precinct Bunjil Place from April 5 until May 3. However, a series of violent threats from far-right groups has led to Casey Council pulling the event altogether.

Star Observer reached out to the City of Casey council for comments and will update the story when they respond.

Drag Workshops

Featuring drag performers Belial B’Zarr, Linh Uendo, Lilium, Holly Pop, and Randy Roy amongst special guests, the educational series was to highlight the beauty of drag, while inspiring younger generations to learn about the importance of the craft.

Each class was equipped with detailed information regarding drag history, various performance techniques to shine on stage, and critical lessons to help enliven make-up skills.

Far-right groups targeted the proposed event, leading to a barrage of threatening calls and emails, as well as an altercation wherein a group barged into a council meeting and flung homophobic and transphobic comments throughout the room.

Concerns for the physical and emotional safety of the performers and the participants, many of whom are aged between 12-25, led the City of Casey to cancel the event.

Drag performer Belial Bzarr. Image: Instagram

Council Gives In To Hate Groups

While the drag performers are said to have been reimbursed, a message from drag king Belial B’Zarr to the Casey Community revealed otherwise. “The Council has called for a formal meeting to reflect on the cancellation, however details regarding compensation for this additional labour from artists are currently unclear,” said B’Zarr.

Since the cancellation of the event, vicious comments have been directed towards the performers and any possible future events. “I’ve seen in Facebook groups that those who forced the cancellation are genuinely proud of their horrible efforts. They’re congratulating each other, and working to figure out which event to cancel next,” said B’Zarr.  

Disappointed with councils choosing to give in and cancel their LGBTQI events, Belial B’Zarr wants to make sure the community is heard. “Both drag artists and the wider community right now generally feel support from councils is conditional – there when it’s convenient, but immediately removed the moment anybody attacks us for our identities.

Protecting Our Communities

Performers are rallying the community to band together and show their support. This includes encouraging people to contact their local city councils to bolster queer events while asking their councils to implement finer safety protocols.

They also asked people to reach out to state government bodies, informing them of the current threats faced by far-right extremists, while asking them to provide better safety measures.

“Those in power have a responsibility to protect our communities and provide structure and resources to local councils that prevent young people from being exposed to or impacted by violent extremism,” Belial B’Zarr said. “The violent threats made are unacceptable and undeserved. Young people are entitled to education, connection to community and opportunities to grow without fear or harm.”

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