Uniting Pride, Literary celebrate end to Pride Month with Drag Story Time


Photo courtesy of Remington Rock

The Literary book store located on North Neil Street display their products for sale. The Literary offers a safe place for readers and celebrates PRIDE month with the LGBTQ+ community and authors and will be hosting a family-friendly Drag Story Time on Sunday morning alongside Uniting Pride to end off PRIDE month.

By Kylie Corral, Summer Managing Editor for Reporting

As Pride Month reaches its end, Uniting Pride, the sole LGBTQ+ resource in Champaign Country, and The Literary are collaborating to hold a Drag Story Time on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. 

Remington Rock, general manager at The Literary in downtown Champaign, describes the bookbar as a “third place” — a place outside people’s home and work where they can feel welcome and comfortable as they enjoy a drink, a bite to eat and a book.

Our Drag Story Time with Uniting Pride is a fun, free and family-friendly event,” Rock said. “We host regular story times twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. that are super popular, so we wanted to expand on that offering to spotlight some of our amazing local talent during Pride Month.”

She said The Literary supports anyone and everyone in the queer community. For Pride Month, Rock said The Literary spotlighted books written by LGBTQ+ authors, as well as books that are about LGBTQ+ genres and characters.

“Regardless of age, anyone who wants to attend this event to enjoy some fabulous entertainment is welcome,” she said. “Even after June, we want members of the community to always feel safe, seen and welcome at The Literary.”

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Despite The Literary being less than a year old, Rock said it’s fun to explore and plan new events. She said the environment at The Literary is an inviting one, perfect for anything and everything.

Being able to spotlight the diverse talent here in the C-U community has been super fun and rewarding, she said.  

“You might not always think that something like a drag show or queer tango would take place in a bookstore, but that’s what has been so great about The Literary — being able to explore, plan diverse programming and figure it all out along the way.” Rock said.

The Literary has been wanting to do a Drag Story Time ever since the first weekly story time event, she said. Since its first collaboration with Uniting Pride in December Rock said the storytime has been a priority for The Literary.

Rock said she thanks the community for supporting local businesses, talent, resources and the community itself. The Literary will always be a welcoming, diverse, safe and special space to C-U, she said, adding that the Drag Story Time will be a great event.

“I’m so excited for the first and definitely not last Drag Story Time at The Literary,” Rock said.

Nicole Frydman, director of operations at Uniting Pride of Champaign County, said she reached out to The Literary when it opened late last year to create a partnership.

“They were excited and interested, and it sparked a beautiful friendship,” Frydman said. “Since then, we have partnered with and hosted a few events with them and we look forward to continuing to do more.” 

The Drag Story Time is an event where drag performers read childrens’ books to kids, Fyrdman said, adding that this event models art, beauty and education. She said this kind of positive representation can help children have stronger mental health in their lives.

“This event centers families and children and gives them ways to celebrate Pride in a safe and supportive environment,” Frydman said.

Frydman said the most rewarding part of these events is meeting new people and seeing how Uniting Pride is growing its reach.

“I’m most excited to see how the kids light up at the beauty and artistry of our community’s drag performers and how they connect to the books being read in a new way because they are being delivered in a new voice,” she said.

Unfortunately, Frydman said that there has been some disruption to this event by anti-LGBTQ+ people in the community.

She said she doesn’t know if anything will come of these threats, but Uniting Pride is working with The Literary to make sure that the event is 100% safe for everyone. The best way to combat these threats is to have more supporters at the event than detractors, she said.

“We absolutely will not be shut down by bigotry and hate,” Frydman said. “We’ve been here before so we know how to fight this, and fight it we will. We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it. Because we’re not going back in the closet no matter how loud the voices of ignorance and hate get.”


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