Bakery refuses to back down after receiving threats over family-friendly drag performance

The image shows a business front with the words 'UpRising Bakery and Cafe' written in white. A white car is parked outside in the parking lot

An Illinois bakery will host a family-friendly drag show despite being threatened, vandalised and sent a ​​bag of faeces over the planned event.

UpRising Bakery and Cafe owner Corrina Sac told the Chicago Tribune that she planned a child-friendly drag event complete with costumes, dancing, food and a celestial theme. She described quickly getting backlash against the show because it would be open to people of all ages, including children. 

Sac received numerous calls and emails from people voicing their concerns or personally attacking her because of the drag event in Lake in the Hills, Illinois. In another instance, a person left a sign on the bakery’s door claiming “pedophiles work here”. 

Another person came into the store and spit into the bakery case. Sac even discovered a bag of faeces was left at a door outside the venue.

Despite the threats and harassment, Sac planned to go ahead with the drag show Saturday (23 July) and wanted to hold more in the future. She said the show, which features well-known local performers, is “very, very family-friendly” with no nudity or explicit content.

“The worse thing is a high kick, possibly, or someone doing the splits,” she said. “That’s about it.”

Corrina Sac wears a pink shirt as she sits in UpRising Bakery and Cafe during an interview about the bakery receiving threats over a planned family-friendly drag event

Corrina Sac, owner of UpRising Bakery and Cafe, says the business received threats because it is hosting a family-friendly drag event. (YouTube/CBS Chicago)

Sac was shocked at the anti-LGBTQ+ hate being sent toward the bakery, but she said it was important for “people who haven’t been exposed to this” to “learn about it and be more accepting”.  

The Lake in the Hills police became involved after people called authorities about the event. It investigated and found no violations, according to a news release from the police department

It subsequently investigated threats to the bakery and expected there to be protests as well as counter-protests at the drag event. The police stressed it will be taking a “zero-tolerance approach for those individuals who choose to attend with plans to engage in acts of violence or criminal activity”. 

Crys Squires, president of Woodstock Pride, told the Chicago Tribune that the “whole community” has “really rallied around the bakery” after the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ hate. 

Squires said the local area has come far in accepting the queer community in recent years but still had so far to go as Woodstock Pride received some backlash for hosted drag shows.

“I think one big takeaway from this whole thing is that while there is still negativity and people who maybe do not support the LGBT community, there are also a lot of people that do, and those people are standing up,” Squires said.

Carol White told WLS her grandson just came out as trans, and she wanted to support him as well as businesses that openly advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“I have a grandson who just came out as trans,” White said. “He’s 18, and I support him and I support this business. We are gonna be regulars at this restaurant.” 

Republican lawmakers and right-wing groups have increasingly targeted drag performances in recent months. 

Several Republican politicians suggested legislation banning kids from family-friendly drag events, and one Florida lawmaker argued it should be a “felony” for parents to take their children to such performances. 

One drag performer wears a monochromatic animal print outfit, sparkly face mask and silver crown as they read from a children's book held up in their hands. Another queen dressed in a bright yellow patterned outfit with a matching yellow wig with two sunflowers sits beside the other performer

Several family-friendly drag events, including Drag Queen Story Hour performances, have been targeted by right-wing protestors. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty)

right-wing mob descended on a Texas event in June and shouted at families that attended the event to “repent for [their] sins”. Some chanted “groomer” at those gathered in support of the venue while others attended to push their way into the bar. 

A short while later, a group of alleged Proud Boys members stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour event – aimed at pre-school children – at the San Lorenzo Library, California on 11 June. Organisers said the men were shouting “homophobic and transphobic slurs”, “yelling, screaming, inciting violent threats, [and] traumatising children and their families”. 

LGBTQ+ advocates and allies used ABBA songs, chants, megaphones and other cheerful music to drown out a hateful crowd of protestors outside a drag show in July. 

Drag icon RuPaul described the wave of hate directed towards drag events as a “diversion tactic” used by Republicans to “take the narrative away” from pressing issues in the US – like gun control – and “scare people into thinking about something else”.

“They have changed the narrative away from the gun debate into this drag queen thing,” RuPaul said. “Y’all want to help your kids? Take away them guns, that will help your kids!”

The Drag Race host continued: “Drag queens ain’t hurt nobody. You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”