Empowerment through storytelling

September 22, 2023 – During a heartwarming event, Mt. A hosted Justin 2D for a drag story time held on the main floor of the R.P. Bell Library. Organized by Student Life and Mt. A Libraries, this event sought to bring together audiences of all ages. 

The storytime event began at 2:30 p.m., drawing a diverse crowd eager to experience Justin 2D’s performance. The event’s unique format allocated the majority of the time for the little ones, who were able to listen to the tales read by Justin in full drag. The remaining portion of the event was reserved for adult literature, adding an extra layer of inclusivity to the afternoon. 

Justin 2D, an advocate for adult literacy and an experienced drag performer, expressed his joy in reading for adults and sharing his multifaceted talents. He shared his personal drag journey, highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic led him to pursue a career in drag after leaving his previous job. “I don’t hate going to work when I do drag,” Justin expressed, emphasizing his passion for dressing in drag and performing.

The event took place just days after the “One Million March for Children” protests, which significantly impacted drag performers like Justin. He shed light on the challenges faced during such protests, revealing that it was mostly children who engaged in the antagonizing behavior. “They know we can’t fight children,” Justin remarked, recounting how he felt unsafe when surrounded by young protesters. In Moncton, some of these children were seen stomping on or using pride flags in violent ways. He asserted, “the other side uses intimidation and force against us, that is the definition of terrorism.” This behavior further shows the need for continued education and awareness about the 2SLGBTQA+ community’s values of love and acceptance.

The cancellation of a drag show in Balmoral due to threats of violence is another example of the challenges performers face . Justin questioned the decision to cancel the show, stating that the show should have still happened. He added that continuing the show would require more security and legal action against troublemakers, but cancelling the show compromises performers’ livelihoods. 

In response to the cancellation, the community rallied together, launching a successful GoFundMe campaign to compensate the performers who had lost their paychecks. Justin noted the heartwarming support from local businesses in Balmoral, admiring the resilience and solidarity of the community.

Justin also shared his perspective on the evolving hate and discrimination, noting that it has become more localized, with harassment increasingly coming from within New Brunswick. He expressed his surprise at encountering such hate from a country that had legalized same-sex marriage almost two decades ago. 

Touching on the subject of religion, Justin clarified that not all religious beliefs are harmful, as some of these institutions are 2SLGBTQIA+ friendly, but that some individuals manipulate their faith to justify hate. He encouraged acceptance and understanding while stressing the urgency of providing support and community for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. Justin states that “if people want to hate me because I’m queer, that’s fine, but if your kid happens to be queer, we want them to find their community faster than we did.”

Justin 2D left with a message of resilience and hope. He urged everyone to pursue their passions, embrace change, and strive to make positive choices in an ever-evolving world. “The world is a crazy place,” Justin said, “so do things that you love, and if you want something to happen, you’ll figure it out and make it happen.” His performance and words showcase the power of drag to inspire change and promote a more inclusive society.

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