Threats lead Downers Grove library to cancel drag bingo event

The Downers Grove Public Library has canceled a drag bingo event for teens because of threats. Police are investigating.

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The Downers Grove Public Library’s plan to host a drag-themed bingo event for teens in October was canceled after numerous threats — including a letter with a bullet.

The Downers Grove Public Library has canceled a drag-themed bingo event for teens in October.

Daily Herald file

A planned drag-themed bingo event for teens at the Downers Grove Public Library has been canceled because of threats now being investigated by local police, officials announced Monday.

“Providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe space for everyone in the Downers Grove community is of the utmost importance to the library,” library director Julie Milavec said in an open letter to the community. “Unfortunately, in this case, it is not possible to provide a safe place for everyone due to the threats made.”

The event was scheduled for Oct. 11 — National Coming Out Day. Bingo games and a short lip-sync performance by drag performer Aurora Divine were planned.

Library officials insisted the program, aimed at seventh through 12th graders, would be appropriate for the setting and the audience.

Staffers were contacted by hundreds of opponents and supporters after the program was announced late last month. People were about evenly split, with supporters edging out critics, officials said.

Among the emails, calls and social media posts about the event were at least two threats that were passed along to police.

Library officials on Monday declined to comment on the threats or to say if more have come in, citing the active police investigation.

A police department representative couldn’t be reached.

In her letter to the public, Milavec insisted “hate did not win today” and said she’s “determined” to find ways to support the teens who’d registered for the event.

“It is our responsibility to keep you safe,” Milavec wrote. “We are disappointed and saddened by some of the vitriolic feedback that we received for what was meant to be an evening of fun and celebration of self-identity and self-expression.”

The program had been open to 40 teens, and all spots were taken, officials have said. The program also had a waiting list with at least 40 names, spokeswoman Cindy Khatri said.

Read more at dailyherald.com.

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