Kelowna’s self proclaimed Queen of Controversy has raised funds for queer programs in the Okanagan, and they give the credit to drag protesters.
“As the Queen of Controversy I love an ironic situation,” said Freida Whales, a drag performer and activist.
Whales is a long time 2SLGBTQIA+ advocate but was recently thrust into the spotlight after a drag story-time event at the Okanagan Regional Library became the topic of heated online debate.
The event, where Whales read a children’s book and led songs to a room full of families, was protested and an online petition was circulated to have it cancelled.
Whales continues to receive online harassment and hate from a a small group of people, who have unwillingly kept Whales’ name trending and increased their visibility.
Whales decided to “make lemonade out of very, very sour lemons,” and used their newfound online popularity to raise money for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in the Okanagan.
Whales created a ‘Queen of Controversy’ pin-on button, and has donated all $600 in proceeds to This Space Belongs to You, which provides safe, inclusive and anti-oppressive spaces and resources, including counselling, for youth in the Okanagan.
The Queen herself glued the rhinestones onto each button.
“I decided to turn their anger and hate into love,” said Whales.
“For me to raise money to support the community that [the protesters] are actively hurting through their protests and online hate, that’s the cherry on top.”