By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An Iowa magician who canceled her appearances in Gillette this week after being threatened because she is transgender said she has been experiencing a “whirlwind” of emotions after receiving messages of support.
Mikayla Oz said she has received an outpouring of support and kind messages from Wyoming residents since being forced to cancel her scheduled shows at the Campbell County Public Library this week.
Mikayla Oz, who has performed in libraries across the nation, is a transgender woman. After that fact was disseminated around Gillette, Oz began receiving threats regarding her performances in the city.
Oz said the incident stemmed from one earlier in the month when some members of the Gillette community saw a post on the library’s social media account about “rainbow books,” books that address LGBTQ content and issues.
“These books are meant to help serve someone who might be struggling or have family who is struggling with the gender identity, sexuality, etc.,” Oz said in post on her Facebook page. “A small group of people who were upset by this, decided to research into the library and found me, a woman of a trans experience. They started pushing around the idea that because I was a trans woman, my shows would then sexualize minors, turn kids trans and in turn, expose kids to pedophilia.”
Oz said her magic shows in Gillette would have all been family-friendly with no mention of her gender identity, the LGBTQ community or anything else. Instead, she wanted to share with children the magic of reading books.
“The past few days I received a threatening email, call, protest threats and series of messages telling me not to come (to Gillette) or there will be issues,” she wrote. “Which has resulted in me unfortunately cancelling these shows for the safety of myself and the community in Gillette.”
However, since the library announced Oz wouldn’t be coming to perform, she has received an outpouring support and kind messages from people in Wyoming, she said. She thanked the library for doing everything in its power to make her feel supported and safe.
“The Library Staff at this library is amazing and the community is lucky to have them,” Oz wrote. “It breaks my heart that a small portion of the community prevented what was supposed to be a fun, magical couple days for the families in this town.”
The incident prompted a protest of the library Wednesday as a group of people marched outside of the building, carrying signs expressing their opposition to having transgender individuals perform at the library.
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.”