Security Needed at Vancouver Youth Theatre Company’s Drag Summer Camp: Here’s How You Can Help

Hateful flyers, threatening messages and a supposed anti-drag-camp rally have forced the organizers at Carousel Theatre for Young People to ask for help.

They say don’t type when you’re angry. But they also say reading is fundamental. And I’m typing something you should read.

Yesterday, a supporter of Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre for Young People shared a GoFundMe. But instead of requesting donations for prop swords and shields or child-sized wigs (you know, the normal youth theatre things), they’re asking for monetary support to pay for security. That’s because, ever since the company announced a Summer Drag Camp for kids aged 7-11, they’ve been overwhelmed by hateful comments, letters and messages.

“This has not just been over social media,” said the supporter via the GoFundMe. “People have shown up at the office with cameras, handing out horrifying flyers and spewing hate at the employees who work there. At its height, certain staff members were receiving over 100 emails a day, harassing them and spewing abuse.”

A message from a supporter of Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre for Young People.

The camp itself is on July 4, and there are rumours that an anti-drag (and, one assumes, homophobic and transphobic) rally is being organized to protest the camp. To keep the participants and staff safe, the Carousel team is investing $8,000 in hiring security for the event.

I think it goes without saying, but I’ll say it: kids should be able to go to theatre camp without being harassed on their way into the building. Drag is an art that is all about self-expression and genuine joy, and anyone who discourages that—especially in children—has some serious work to do. Respectfully, perhaps those with a lot of anti-drag energy built up could invest it in a worthier cause, like fighting climate change or watching paint dry.

To support Carousel, donate to the GoFundMe—as of the time this post was written, they still have about $3,000 to go. And long-term, consider setting up a monthly donation: they’re doing great work over there, and can use all the help they can get.