Bakery forced to close after ‘horrific attacks’ for hosting a drag show

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

A bakery in Chicago has shut its doors due to a wave of extreme harassment and violent attacks for simply hosting a drag show.

The US anti-drag climate has reached new heights, with a bakery now a target because they hosted a drag show.

UpRising bakery and cafe, located in Chicago, is set to close at the end of March due to frequent attacks and harassment at the premises.

The owner of the bakery-cafe announced that the closure was due to backlash from a recent drag show that was hosted at the venue.

“Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last eight months,” owner Corinna Sac explained in a news release, reported by the Chicago Sun Times.

“From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organisations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘paedophiles’.

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“Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their licence plates are photographed, and they are harassed.”

The first attack on the business was in July 2022, when a family-friendly show was organised which happened to feature some drag acts.

In response of the inclusion of drag performers, protestors smashed the doors and windows of the venue, and daubed the business with hateful messages.

Disturbingly, customers and members of staff were attacked upon entering the venue, with protestors camping outside and harassing people for days on end.

Sac also highlighted that the UpRising bakery and cafe is important to the local community it serves, with a mission of providing sweet treats for a wide range of requirements.

“Seeing gluten-free and vegan products sold with 350 per cent markup saddened me,” she continued. “My heart broke reading emails from same-sex couples seeking a bakery for their wedding cake. People in this community need us.”

Drag bans in the US are causing huge issues

Elsewhere in the US, Tennessee drag queens are “fearful” and “angry” after the state passed a ban on their art form.

Tennessee became the first state in the US to pass a ban on public drag performances that could potentially be seen by minors on 2 March. It comes as a number of red states push similar efforts to criminalise drag performers, coinciding with bigoted, baseless rhetoric slandering LGBTQ+ people as a threat to the safety of children.

Memphis-based drag queen Bella DuBalle says the message being sent to the LGBTQ+ community is clear: “We don’t want you here.”

“This is a movement coming from the religious right, and [it’s] feeling like somehow we’ve been dragged 54 years back in time to Stonewall again,” she says. |The pendulum swing is so crazy.”

The bill categorises drag as “adult cabaret” or a “prurient interest” – a word literally defined in state law as a “shameful or morbid interest in sex”. Bella says this is a clear attempt by lawmakers to mask anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination – one she fears could inspire further violence against the community.

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