Entertainer Adam Larkham is standing strong in the face of ugly criticism, vowing to dress up as a drag queen and entertain children at a storytime event as planned.
Wollongong City Library is also standing by their decision to host Drag Storytime – an inclusive and safe event on Saturday. Though it’s understood they have added security following hundreds of negative and disturbing comments pointed to them and Mr Larkham.
“If people like myself back down and don’t do them when people talk bad about them, then we’re not going to move forward,” Mr Larkham said.
“I’m trying hard not to let it affect me personally and it is hard to do that because people are saying things about my character specifically ... but if any other drag queen was to do this event they would be ripped to shreds as well.”
In February, Mr Larkham’s drag persona Miss Roxee was booked to read stories, sing songs and do craft for the library event but in the last week social comment has “blown up”.
It seems to have divided the community with accusations it will “sexualise” children and “spread propaganda”.
“A lot of people know now that Adam Larkham is Roxee Horror ... and that does make me scared because there are people out there who unfortunately would take things to the next level,” he said.
The entertainer also wanted to make it clear the family-friendly character of Miss Roxee would not be confused with his other alter ego Roxee Horror (the name a play on Rocky Horror Picture Show), after controversial images were negatively shared on social media.
He explained Roxee is booked for all sorts of events and to cater for different audiences, from adults-only Halloween parties to being the master of ceremonies at Spring Into Corrimal.
“I take dressing up in drag as a character and that's why it’s okay,” Mr Larkham said.
“If people want to dress up as anything and be who they feel they want to be, that’s on them and I support that.
“I don’t dress up like Roxee because I feel like a woman on the inside, – and I know some people do, that’s not for me – I personally dress up in drag because it gives me confidence.”
Drag Storytime is one of two events the library is contributing to the Queer Arts Festival.
Wednesday evening’s From 1978 Until Now panel event with activists from Sydney’s original Mardis Gras has not gained widespread criticism.
“We know there has been much interest in this family-focused event and Council’s library and events staff are working closely with our security contractor and NSW Police to ensure the event runs smoothly,” a Wollongong Council spokeswoman told the Mercury.
“The library will be open from 9.30am to 5pm if people wish to drop in outside of the activity time.”