Drag queen scared after threats from right-wing tormentors
A DRAG queen who has been bombarded with abuse after agreeing to host a storytelling event for children and adults says he is scared for his safety.
Wollongong's Adam Larkham - who performs as Roxee Horror - told news.com.au he is both excited and worried for the July 21 event at the city's central library.
Angry protesters, some part of an orchestrated effort from right-wing groups, have taken to social media in recent days to launch homophobic slurs over the event, which is part of the Wollongong Queer Arts Festival.
Ms Roxee simply wants to read stories, sing and make crafts at the library, but trolls have targeted the drag performer, claiming the event will "spread propaganda" and "sexualise children".
"I'm honestly a bit scared for my safety," Mr Larkham told news.com.au this afternoon, after he had read hundreds of comments about the upcoming performance on social media.
"I just have to be aware that there's a lot of negativity out there, but I'm actually very excited to be doing it.
"I'm just trying not to take any notice of the comments anymore, even though there has been a lot of love in them too. I try not to take it personally.
"If it was any other drag queen, they would have gone through the same thing. So I don't think the abuse is directed at me as Adam Larkham."
However, Mr Larkham said one of Ms Roxee's biggest fans, his mother, has taken some of the abuse to heart.
So, in defence of her son, she took to social media to post a heartfelt message to the haters.
"I am the mother of Roxee Horror," she wrote. "It breaks my heart that society judges a book by the cover.
"The comments that have been made are so heartbreaking, completely wrong and really unfair.
"If the world stopped judging people for how they look we would live in a much better world."
It all began in February when Mr Larkham was performing as part of a production at the library and a staff member suggested he should perform at a drag storytelling event - a first for Wollongong.
Mr Larkham, who has been involved in theatre for most of his life, thought it sounded like a great idea and, as the city's fledgling Queer Arts Festival was approaching, the library's manager decided to push ahead with the drag event to support the small festival.
"I just love performing so I said 'yes' and I didn't think anything else of it," Mr Larkham said. "The thought that someone would be negative about it didn't event cross my mind."
However, when it was publicised in the local press, he began to see a deluge of nasty comments streaming through - many attacking him personally and urging parents to boycott the event.
"I was surprised to see what people were writing about me," he said. "But over the years I've learnt to expect that there's going to be some idiots out there."
It's nothing the hardened drag performer hasn't heard before.
"You get the odd idiot calling out at your events," he said. "And, sometimes it's a bit scary when you're going to and from performances, even when I'm driving there I have people shouting out at me.
"People just don't seem to understand what a drag queen is. They don't understand that I identify as a man and it's just a performance. I'm not transgender. I go home at the end of the night and I'm Adam Larkham."
Some irate locals have written to the library to express their dismay and called for the event to scrapped.
However, staff hit back at some of the abusive messages posted on the library's Facebook page.
"Thank you for your feedback," wrote a spokesman for Wollongong City Libraries. "The libraries' support of the Wollongong Queer Arts Festival is an opportunity to highlight that it doesn't matter who you are, where you are from or what motivates you to come into the library, this is a safe and inclusive space for everyone."
The library's manager Jenny Thompson told the Illawarra Mercuryshe doesn't care about the criticism of the event.
"The central library is a pretty big place, and our community and our world is a big place and there is space for everybody," she said.
"We offer a range of different events for all different parts of the community and this is, I guess, part of our community we haven't done that overtly for before.
"So it's important to us that we're getting with the program."
MR LARKHAM'S MUM'S FULL STATEMENT:
I am the mother of Roxee Horror.
It breaks my heart that society judges a book by the cover.
The comments that have been made are so heartbreaking, completely wrong and really unfair.
Roxee is an entertainer and performs many shows.
Roxee is not transgender.
Roxee is not perverted.
Roxee has a heart of gold.
Roxee is the first person to be there for someone who is in need.
There was a lady on the street crying one day and Roxee went to the flower shop, bought her a rose and said I hope this makes you feel better.
Roxee was approached by Wollongong City Library to just do another show.
We had no idea this was going to be so controversial.
Please understand that Roxee is someone's son and someone's sister.
Society has the wrong perception of Drag Queens.
If the world stopped judging people for how they look we would live in a much better world.