By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An Iowa magician canceled her performance at the Campbell County Public Library in Gillette this week after receiving death threats because of her gender identity.
Mikayla Oz, who has performed in libraries across the nation, is a transgender woman, which caused enough of an uproar in the Gillette community that Oz began to receive death threats regarding her performance in the city.
“With great regret, regret shared by Campbell County Public Library System, Oz canceled her programs in Gillette and Wright due to safety concerns for herself, library staff, and library patrons,” the library announced on Tuesday. “Oz’s transgender identity was shared on a social media post made by a Gillette citizen. From there, misinformation about the performances was spread via social media and a call to protest the events was made by a group of citizens. The cancellation came after threats were made directly to Oz and to library staff.”
In addition to appearing in libraries, Oz has appeared on the Travel Channel and been profiled by the Huffington Post and USA Today for her high energy, comedic magic melded with storytelling.
Former state Rep. Scott Clem, R-Gillette, was one of the residents who posted about the magician performing at the library, sharing a video about Oz’s transition from male to female.
“What concerns me is that these types of events are orchestrated, not simply for fun and entertainment, but as a cover to introduce and glorify something more insidious and harmful,” Clem wrote in a Facebook post. “As a pastor and parent I have some questions. Is this simply a fun magic show? Or is the magic show a cover for this person to talk about sexual issues with our teens?”
He questioned why the library was promoting the “base things of life” and not higher virtues.
Many of the comments on Clem’s post agreed with him, saying the library was “liberal” and pushing a “dark agenda.”
Sara Burlingame, a former legislator and executive director of the pro-LGBTQ organization Wyoming Equality, planned to travel to Gillette on Wednesday to appear during a “listening party” with members the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays during a dinner at Pizza Carello. Discussion was expected to center around the current climate for LGBTQ-identifying Wyomingites.
This situation in Gillette comes on the heels of the library receiving some backlash in the community due to its LGBTQ-related programming during Gay Pride Month in June, according to Wyoming Public Media.