Embattled drag performers have found safety in one of Victoria’s best known houses. 

Victoria's Parliament House was transformed into a vibrant spectacle as drag performers took center stage to read stories to a captivated audience, including Premier Daniel Andrews, last week. 

The event, which defied recent cancellations due to opposition and threats from fringe conspiracy groups, was intended as a powerful statement of solidarity and inclusivity.

The government extended aninvitation to five drag performers who had been affected by cancellations at local libraries. 

Minister for Equality Harriet Shing expressed her admiration for the performers, stating, “Nobody shows up quite the way that a drag queen does”. 

Over 100 attendees, including members of Melbourne's queer community and their children, gathered to celebrate diversity and stand against the hate-filled minority that had targeted these events.

The occasion coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). 

Minister Shing said that the government would never allow a small group of hateful individuals to overshadow the joy, pride, and dignity of the community. 

Simultaneously, a drag story event was originally planned at Melbourne’s Eltham Library, but it was also canceled and shifted online due to opposition. 

Frock Hudson, one of the drag performers affected by the cancellations, shared his experience of online bullying and harassment. 

Hudson lamented the false portrayal of drag queens as pedophiles, emphasising the need for people to experience and appreciate the art form rather than engaging in baseless attacks.

Despite the cancellation, Hudson seized the opportunity to give an impromptu reading at the back of the library, delighting a group of children waving rainbow flags. 

Demonstrators from both sides, including the Rainbow Community Angels and anti-drag activists, gathered at the library, with clashes occurring sporadically. 

However, the situation remained mostly calm thanks to the presence of supportive “rainbow” advocates.

While Opposition Leader John Pesutto was not initially invited to the parliamentary reading, he expressed his support and regretted missing the event. 

He said everyone should feel welcome in the Victorian parliament. 

Shadow Minister for Equality James Newbury criticised the government's decision not to invite opposition members, stating that it undermined the significance of equality and respect for all Victorians.