A magician who was to perform at two libraries in Wyoming was forced to cancel her shows due to death threats received by the library staff.
Mikayla Oz, who performs at a variety of events and venues, was scheduled to perform July 14 and 15 at the libraries in Gillette and Wright in Wyoming. Oz has appeared on TV and has been featured in The Associated Press and USA Today.
According to a Facebook post from the Campbell County Public Library in Gillette, the cancellation happened after someone in the town discovered Oz is trans. The library wrote the post after misinformation spread about Oz’s kid-centric acts and some local residents called for a protest. Threats came in after that.
“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 wrote. “Her high energy magic, captivating storytelling, and hilarious comedy was to be a highlight of the libraries’ summer reading events.”
Oz, originally from Iowa, told Wyoming radio station KTWO that the library had received some backlash after announcing it had books about the LGBTQ+ community for the public to check out. At a county commissioner’s meeting, the library received more backlash, and Oz’s name was brought up.
Oz told the station, “Apparently, somebody was doing some research into all the events that were happening with the library and found out that I'm trans. So, they called me to let me know that there might be protests. I was like, 'Okay, I've never had this happen before, but as long as the safety of myself and the community is okay, I'll still come and do the shows.’”
Oz said the libraries had been supportive and still wanted her to perform her act.
“It wasn't until somebody called me and said ‘Hey, is this Mikayla?’ and I said yes and they said 'You're not welcome in our town and if you come here there's going to be issues,'" she said. “I said ‘Well, can we talk about this?’ and they hung up. And that freaked me out because I'm not a confrontational person.”
In some images and emails that Oz sent the radio station, people attacked her gender identity and one email even alluded to the recent San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus satirical video about converting kids to be accepting of others as serious.
The irony is that Oz discovered her love of magic acts in the library when she was a kid. “I first started magic when I was like 4 years old,” Oz told KTWO. “I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I actually got started by seeing a magician at a library. In that magic show that I saw, the magician encouraged kids to go check out the magic books [at the library] to kind of get started, and that's exactly what I did."
“I ultimately decided that, due to my safety and the safety of others, it probably wasn't worth the risk,” she said. “Even if it was just protests, I can't imagine the kids having to walk in through these angry adults yelling and holding up signs.”
The news from Wyoming comes only days after a bar in the state was accused of selling T-shirts calling for the shooting of LGBTQ+ people.