A VICAR has hit back at online trolls who viciously targeted a church that hosted a drag queen event for children.

Southend’s annual LGBT+ Winter Pride event was hosted for the third year running at St Mark’s church in Hamlet Road, Southend, on Saturday.

A picture shared on social media of children enjoying an age-appropriate lip-syncing performance by drag queen Kenzie Blackheart was jumped upon by trolls and conspiracy theorists alleging the practice amounted to “sexual grooming”.


Church vicar, Mother Cherry Sandover, has hit back at the trolls and reiterated her churches support for the LGBT+ community.

“This was a family show, and nothing was sexualised or inappropriate,” she said.

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"Saint Mark’s is proud to be an inclusive church that seeks to welcome and serve LGBT+ people. We do this because we believe this is what Jesus, who we love and follow, calls us to do.”

Earlier this month right-wing protesters demonstrated outside Colchester Library over its hosting a drag storytime event.

More than 250 counter protesters mobilised to gather outside the library and protect the show, while spreading the message of equality and acceptance, drag perfomer Sirena Hart told the Colchester Gazzette.

The protests follow waves of similar protests across the USA which have culminated in the state of Tennessee preparing to sign into law a bill to ban drag shows.

Matt Hunt, stage name Queen Kenzie Blackheart, who performed at St Mark’s, said: “Unfortunately, this pandemic of panic seems to also be slowly spreading to the UK, with an alarming rise in protests happening outside of drag queen story time’s and other family-friendly LGBTQ+ events.

“We are not here to sexualise or prey upon your children. We are here to be representation for LGBTQ+ people, different gender identities, and you children grow up with acceptance, tolerance and an open mind.

“Children do not view us as sexual beings. They view us as princesses/princes/royalty, or like their dollies brought to life.”

They added: "PS, if you have an issue with drag queens at family-friendly events, maybe don’t book up for a pantomime this Christmas."