Arizona Bookstore Nixes ‘Drag Show for Palestine’ Event After Backlash

Arizona Bookstore Cancels ‘Drag Show for Palestine’ Event Following Public Outcry

A bilingual bookstore in Arizona recently called off its “Drag Show for Palestine,” aimed at being a family-friendly event, after facing significant criticism. The controversy stemmed from the fact that LGBTQ expressions and drag shows are severely restricted in Palestinian territories, with those found participating risking their lives.

The bookstore, located in Phoenix, Arizona, had advertised the event as a night of “Drag and Community” in support of Palestine, inviting families to attend at their discretion. The event promised local organizers, speeches, educational moments, food, and drag performances, encouraging attendees to tip the performing artists.

Critics quickly voiced their concerns on social media, questioning the appropriateness of exposing children to adult language and the paradox of hosting a drag show in solidarity with a region where LGBTQ rights are non-existent.

The bookstore describes itself as a refuge for the community and a hub for cultural expression, focusing on the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) across various intersections. Its mission is to provide a safe space for cultural representation and to challenge the silencing of BIPOC stories and voices through literature and the arts.

Additionally, the bookstore’s website features resources supporting the Palestinian liberation movement, including links to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and groups advocating for Palestinian rights.

In the coming week, the bookstore plans to host Derecka Purnell, an author advocating for the complete abolition of the police force, further emphasizing its commitment to social justice issues.

However, the planned “Drag Show for Palestine” faced backlash, leading to its cancellation. Critics, including conservative commentators and comedians, questioned the decision to host such an event, highlighting the stark contrast between the freedoms enjoyed in the U.S. and the persecution faced by LGBTQ individuals in Palestinian territories.

The event’s cancellation was announced on social media, with the host, known as “Daddy Satan,” citing “unforeseen circumstances” for the decision.

This incident has sparked a broader conversation about the intersection of LGBTQ rights, cultural expression, and international solidarity movements. It also highlights the complexities of advocating for LGBTQ rights globally, especially in regions where such identities are met with hostility and persecution.