The store was getting ready to host its monthly Drag Storytime, hosted by local Utah Drag Queen Tara Lipsyncki. The Sunday morning may have shuttered the planned storytime, but Lipsyncki said on social media that she would not be deterred.
“When will these threats stop?” asked Lipsyncki on Instagram. “When will enough be enough?”
Lipsyncki said the Drag Storytime event, King’s English Bookshop staff and herself was the intended target of the bomb threat, calling it an act of domestic terrorism. She said this was not the first time she had been the center of violent threats, having received several since the start of the year.
“With Proud Boys showing up at one of my events in January to push back and threats from events in Vernal and St. George, and now this, I have been the target of a lot of hate,” said Lipsyncki. In her post, she said she has her late mother’s fighting spirit, stubbornness and tenacity and will not back down to “cowardly bullies.”
Lipsyncki said she will always fight and stand her ground when she is able to do so. She remarks the monthly Drag Storytime event is needed in the community in order to provide a safe space and to help those marginalized to feel seen and heard, especially the youth.
The LGBTQ+ community has been a target for marginalization in Utah over the summer. In July, several Pride flags from various Salt Lake City neighborhoods were cut down and burned in the streets. In St. George, a federal judge stepped in after Southern Utah Drag Stars were denied a permit to use a public park for an all-ages drag show.
Following Sunday’s bomb threat, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall voiced her disappointment and frustration, saying that everyone belongs in Salt Lake City.
“The actions today to cause fear at [King’s English Bookshop] around a drag story time event are not welcome here,” said Mendenhall. “We’re looking forward to working with King’s English so this event can happen at a future date for all those who wanted to be there today.”
Lipsyncki said it has been her mission to provide safe spaces for those who need them and she will continue to go forward with the support of those like Mendenhall and King’s English Bookshop.
“I will not back down, I will not succumb to these threats, and I will not stop fighting for a society where we are truly safe,” said Lipsyncki.
As for King’s English, Anne Holman the co-owner of the shop, told ABC4 they plan to continue holding the Drag Storytime event.
“You can’t stop doing what you believe in because somebody [is] being a bully,” said Holman. “You have to stand up to the bullies.”
Holman told ABC4 they had received hundreds of messages from the community showing an outpouring of solidarity and support, for which, she is grateful.