Australian drag queen abused for reading to children

An Australian drag queen has been targeted by trolls who don't like the idea of her reading to children in libraries.

Annie Depressant performs in a variety of venues across Melbournes, from nightclubs to children's parties.

She recently announced a new Rainbow Storytime event at Whittlesea Library, where she reads books to children while dressed as her drag persona. The storytime is part of the library's programme to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Drag queen storytime events have become a global phenomenon after gaining popularity in San Francisco a few years ago.

Depressant held a similar event in January with little controversy. However after a Whittlesea Library Facebook post advertising the storytime was shared by notorious anti-LGBT campaigner Marijke Rancie, she was met with a torrent of abuse from more than 700 mostly negative comments.

Some called the event "gross" and "perverted" and even said it constitutes child abuse.

"Stop messing with our children's minds and let them be little girls and boys as they are meant to be," one commenter said.

"After the 'yes' vote it seems there's no stopping them spreading the 'love'," a woman wrote in reference to Australia’s marriage equality plebiscite in 2017.

Several seemed to think Depressant is a transgender woman, saying: "That's not Annie, that's Andrew."

Depressant told the Star Observer she isn't trans - like most drag queens she identifies as a man in her everyday life. but uses female pronouns while performing as Annie.

She said the events are a great way to teach tolerance and celebrate difference, and that the children who attended her January event were "ecstatic".

"Some of them knew what a drag queen was and they were excited to meet one," she told the Star Observer.

"It was nothing but just really fun entertainment. Nothing has ever been about saying 'change your gender' or 'be a gay person', it was 'accept yourself and love yourself'."

Depressant said she was shocked to read the abusive comments and believes most people have misinterpreted Rainbow Storytime as something sexual. She told the Star Observer she wants to remind people that the event is neither mandatory nor government-run.

"I am a person at the end of the day. How can we treat a human being in this negative way?"