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Pitch in to Show Our Love for Talcott Library!

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On June 16th, the Talcott Free Library in Rockton, Illinois, began promoting an event through their “Find Your Voice” summer program. The July 14th event, a Drag Q and A with Krystal Ball, was intended to offer an opportunity for young adults (6th-12th grade) and their parents to ask questions about the art of drag. In response to the library’s event, they immediately received an extensive amount of hatred from community members. Our local library and librarians have received the brunt of this hatred through public and personal attacks, emails, phone calls, and in-person confrontations. This hatred concerned the use of taxpayer dollars for the event, the chosen audience, and the subject matter as a whole. Due to the overwhelming amount of misinformation and pushback, the library changed the details of their event and released the following clarification:

“Drag is a type of performance art. Drag performers make the act of expressing gender — through their stage name, clothing, makeup, hair, and how they perform on stage — highly creative, exaggerated, and/or theatrical. It does not have anything to do with sexual orientation or sexuality though it is often associated with the LGBTQIA+ community as that is where the art began. There are many common misconceptions about the art and that’s why the library is hosting a Q&A so that young people can ask questions and we can foster understanding and unity in our community. Parents have authority over their teens and can choose whether or not to attend.”

In response to the community and calls for the event’s cancellation, the Talcott Library board postponed their board meeting from June 19th to June 26th at 7 pm. Because of the large numbers expected at the meeting, it was moved from the library itself to the Rockton Community Center. A post concerning rules for the meeting was also shared.

Once aware of the hatred towards the library and this event, a few dedicated community members from Rockton put together a “Show Support for the Talcott Library Pride Event.” This event consisted of a rally with multiple community speakers and a safety discussion, and a parade through Rockton that ended at the community center. This rally was intended to gather supporters of the Drag Q and A, who voiced that they wanted the event not to be canceled. This group of supporters has since formed the Rockton Pride page.

When the supporters arrived at the community center, they were met with a wall of opposition of equal magnitude. This wall of opposition prevented supporters of the event from entering the building safely, leading them to need to be escorted to another entrance. Despite the library board’s promise to allow 50/50 representation from both sides, the actual meeting attendees were “⅔” in opposition and “⅓” in support. Once inside the building, the board members allotted one hour for public comment in regard to the event. An equal number of individuals from both sides were allowed 3 minutes each to speak. Many of the opposition’s arguments referenced their discontent with the use of “taxpayer dollars” for the Drag Q and A event, as well as weaponized religious ideology.

Following public comment, the board members were allowed to offer their opinions and vote. One board member stated that the cancellation of the event would be the equivalent of “censorship” of a community, and did not support the cancelation. Ultimately, the board members voted 4 to 2, allowing the event to proceed.

Now, we (the Rockton LGBTQ community, allies, and Rockton Pride) need your help! Now that we have “found our voice,” we refuse to be silenced. Pitch into this fundraiser! Help us not only to cover the costs of the upcoming Drag Q and A on 7/14, but also to provide funds for our local library to continue their amazing and inclusive programming into the future. Donations can be made through this GoFundMe or sent directly to the library.

Taxpayer dollars” are not worth more than our representation, inclusion, and acceptance at a library or in the community. We are taking away the opposition’s key argument and making it into something positive, and instead showing that we support our local library.

- For more information, please check out the Talcott Free Library, the Rockton Pride page, and the event pages, “Kings and Queens at Heart, Let’s Show up for the Talcott Library Drag Q and A” and “Show Support for the Talcott Library Pride Event.”

Donations 

  • Kristin Smith
    • $25 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Matthew Youngblood
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Evan Schoepski
    • $15 
    • 1 yr
  • Kristie Dantuma
    • $25 
    • 1 yr

Organizer

Rockton Pride
Organizer
Rockton, IL

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