Organizers of a Pride event for LGBTQ youth in Illinois were forced to pull the plug on it over a series of “threatening emails” sent to the venue and the organizations involved.
The event, a youth drag workshop and performance, was scheduled for Saturday in Moline, Ill., as part of the Pride celebrations at the Quad Cities, an area encompassing five neighboring cities flanking the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois.
“We regret to inform you that out of an abundance of caution we have canceled the Youth Drag Workshop / Show for Pride at Bass Street Landing this Saturday,” Clock Inc., an LGBTQ community center in Rock Island, Ill., said Wednesday in a statement shared online.
“The safety of all involved is of the utmost importance and with the current politicized climate and some threatening emails received at the venue and also to all organizations involved we feel it in everyone’s best interest to cancel,” the statement added.
The event was being organized by Clock Inc. and The Project of the Quad Cities, the official host of Pride at Bass Street Landing.
Tyler Mitchell, The Project’s marketing communications director, told local television station KWQC-TV that the organization received several messages from people “who were very much expressing their feelings” about the event.
The situation escalated “to the point where we wanted to make sure we could keep the participants and youth safe — that is our first and foremost priority is making sure our attendees and whoever, feel safe in that environment,” he added.
The event was supposed to be a fun afternoon workshop where LGBTQ youth would work with adult drag performers, put together some fabulous outfits and then perform on stage, “dancing and singing to songs that mean something to them,” Mitchell explained. “It’s a great opportunity for LGBTQ youth to be able to express themselves in an ideal safe environment.”
One Human Family QCA, a local community-based organization that gives voice to those affected by hatred, discrimination or tragedy, expressed outrage at the situation but applauded Clock Inc.’s decision to cancel the event and “putting the safety of its youth above all else.”
“Such threats reveal some of the darkest corners of the soul of our nation,” the Rev. Rich Hendricks of One Human Family QCA said in a statement, according to KLJB-TV. “It is a stain upon our community that there are those among us who would offer such threats. Directing threats against our youth is an outrage that strikes at the hearts of all Quad Citians of conscience,” he added.
Pride at Bass Street Landing will still happen Saturday, organizers said. The celebration, which will include drag shows, live music, and food is set to start at 5 p.m. Admission is free.