Kitchener-Waterloo

Guelph drag queen sees all-ages shows targeted by social media campaigns

Crystal Quartz’s drag brunch event was cancelled at Kelseys Original Roadhouse in Burlington last month following threats to the restaurant. The Guelph-based drag queen is now sounding the alarm as new threats have been made in connection to an upcoming show.

A Guelph drag queen's event was cancelled last month as a result of threats

Guelph drag queen Crystal Quartz had one event cancelled last month due to threats and is worried about another one happening this weekend. (Submitted by Crystal Quartz)

A Guelph drag queen says their shows are being targeted by two Ontario-based social media campaigns, resulting in the cancellation of one event and the performer feeling uneasy about an upcoming show. 

Last month, Crystal Quartz had a drag brunch organized at Kelseys Original Roadhouse in Burlington. But following threats made to the restaurant, management was forced to cancel, the restaurant confirmed to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Restaurant management couldn't disclose information about these threats due to an ongoing police investigation.

Since then, a link to Quartz's Dec. 11 all-ages brunch at a Boston Pizza in Hamilton was shared in a Facebook group, asking members to purchase tickets to sell out the event in a bid to prevent "sick parents" from bringing their kids. 

These incidents come shortly after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., that killed five people, and have left Quartz feeling unsafe.

The drag queen posted an impassioned video on social media about the anti-LGBTQ threats that they, and other performers and promoters, have received.

Crystal Quartz is now raising funds to help enhance security at the shows. (Submitted by Crystal Quartz)

Guelph Police Services are investigating the alleged incidents Quartz brought up in the video. 

In the meantime, Quartz told CBC News they're raising funds for an ID scanner and self-defence classes, and said that they're looking into other security options.

"I want to get an ID scanner so that even if the people come in there, we know what their names are at least," Quartz said.

'It was absolutely terrifying' 

Hamilton drag performer Hexe Noire was also confronted during a drag storytime last month at a public library in the city. 

There were people protesting the event, but also counter-protesters with a heavy police presence — something Noire hadn't seen before.

"This is the first time in my drag career that I've been affected directly by this," Noire, a cis woman, told CBC News. "It was absolutely terrifying."

A drag queen in a yellow wig and brightly coloured clothing holds a frog puppet and a book.
Hexe Noire has done many drag storytimes across Hamilton, including at Hamilton Public Library's Binbrook branch on Nov. 14. (Aura Carreño Rosas/CBC)

Noire explained she received online threats as well. 

"I'm a mother with four children who goes into the library dressed as a drag clown to teach children about diversity and that it's OK to be different," she said. 

"Had I had a program such as this for myself as a young queer child, I would have flourished, and I don't understand what the issue with reading books to children is."

Quartz said that this type of harassment is new as the LGBTQ community becomes more visible and more mainstream.

"Before we were hiding who we were, right? So now we're being seen more and these people just, they don't want anything to do with that," Quartz said.

"And that's fine. If you don't like me, that's cool. Just go on your merry way and I'll go on mine, right?"

But this harassment isn't just aimed at drag queens, according to K-W-based trans activist Cait Glasson. The transgender community is being targeted, too.

Activist Cait Glasson believes that education is key in combating transphobia. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

"They're definitely well and truly emboldened, the transphobic people," Glasson said. "They are very emboldened. I get threats on my Twitter with some regularity.

"My personal belief is that the best way to fix it is education," she said, stressing that understanding about the trans community comes from knowing someone who is trans.     

A study of LGBTQ people in Waterloo Region carried out in 2018 found that 10 per cent of those surveyed have experienced violence due to their sexual orientation; 26 per cent faced violence due to their gender identity. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Chaarani is a reporter for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo and London. You can reach him at james.chaarani@cbc.ca.

With files from Aura Carreño Rosas

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