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Menomonee Falls bakery cancels drag queen story hour children’s event after threats



The owners of a Menomonee Falls bakery Monday canceled a Drag Story Hour and Cupcake Making children’s event scheduled for June 2 because they said they were receiving threatening phone messages.

“The goal was to do a fun event about being inclusive,” said Brittany Wohlfeil, who owns Batter & Mac with her sister Kasey Gusho and mother Geri Voboril.

But due to safety concerns stemming from “strange phone calls” that kept getting more heated, the owners canceled the event. Wohlfeil voiced concerns that possible protesting at the event would put the kids and neighboring businesses in danger.

“We welcome and embrace the diversity of our community. No one is turned away at our door, we welcome everyone in with open arms,” Batter & Mac owners wrote on their Facebook page. “This creates a space where all children including LGBTQ+ kids and teens, those with LGBTQ+ parents or family members, and anyone who feels different, can see themselves reflected and celebrated.”

“We also can see that there are a handful of people in our community who do not see things the same way that we do. Unfortunately, the messages we received regarding this event have become threatening in a violent nature. We have a duty to keep our patrons, staff, the performer, and our surrounding businesses safe and we take this very seriously. As such, we have canceled this event,” they wrote.

What is the Drag Story Time and Cupcake Making for children event?

The Drag Story Time and Cupcake Making event for children was going to have Milwaukee-based drag queen Lucinda Rear read a story about inclusion and acceptance. Wohlfeil said one of the book options was “I am Perfectly Designed” by Karamo Brown. Then, they would decorate pride-themed cupcakes with gold and glitter.

Proceeds from the event were to benefit Courage MKE, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that, according to its website, “provides services, support and resources to LGBTQ+ youth across the state of Wisconsin.”

Wohlfeil emphasized that it would have been the parents’ choice whether to buy a ticket for this event.

“We can agree and disagree and all. If it is not for you, just don’t buy a ticket and don’t come,” she said. “Everyone is different.”

Village trustee appeared to support people not patronizing Batter & Mac on her Facebook page

Menomonee Falls Village Trustee Ann Lessila appeared to support boycotting the business on her social media page.

When a local Facebook group posted negatively on the drag queen story hour, one person wrote, “Despicable. Thank you for letting me know where not to shop.”

Lessila, writing from her personal village trustee page responded to that commenter with: “Spread the word.”

She also wrote on her Facebook page, “I am going to leave all of the comments on my page so it’s out in the public who wants to groom children.”

Lessila did not return a phone call or email message from the Journal Sentinel seeking comment.

‘Backlash by a group of people who seek to lash out their inner homo/trans phobias,’ said drag queen Lucinda Rear

Rear said to the Journal Sentinel in text messages that her usual drag queen performances are “blending dance with comedy because there’s unity through laughter.”

She added that performing for kids and adults is different; it is about “editing and being mindful of your audience.”

“The reading is all about getting the kids excited about reading and wanting to read,” she said, and the story hour was about teaching kids “you’re in a space where you are accepted as yourself and those around you are peers to help you feel safe in a community that would otherwise bully you and harass you for being different.”

Rear voiced frustration with the negative comments about the event, saying it’s unfortunate that Batter & Mac received so much “backlash by a group of people who seek to lash out their inner homo/trans phobias.”

“People need to find a better use of their time, especially those so-called ‘community leaders,’ publicly trying to shame not only me but Brittany Wohlfeil,” said Rear.

‘An unfounded concern,’ said Founder and Executive Director of Courage MKE Brad Schlaikowski

Founder and Executive Director of Courage MKE Brad Schlaikowski called the concerns with the drag event “unfounded” and said that any protesting activities with children would be harmful to them. He added he is “disgusted” with Lessila’s social media comments.

“If people are so worried about kids, help us get them off the streets,” he said.

Schlaikowski was referring to Courage MKE, which he said helps displaced LGBTQ+ youth get off the streets. Since he founded the organization, he opened a licensed group home for displaced LGBTQ+ youth on Milwaukee’s south side.

This year, Courage MKE recently opened a transitional living facility, C2 Apartments, for people in the LGBTQ+ community to provide guidance, housing and support for them to be successful as adults.

‘Inspired to do more fundraising’

Wohlfeil said that she and her mother both worked with mental health issues in their nursing careers. Wohlfeil said she saw how LGBTQ+ youth battled homelessness and mental health issues.

“We think (the Courage MKE nonprofit officials) are doing important work in the community. Kids were kicked out of their homes,” she said. She said last year, when Batter & Mac was in its former 300-square-foot building, the business donated a percentage of its proceeds from pride-themed cupcakes and macaroons ― about $300 dollars ― to Courage MKE. Now that they’re in a bigger space, she said fundraising for other organizations, too, is a priority.

Earlier this year, Batter & Mac raised funds for the Black Holocaust Museum. The business has also raised money for Mermaid Echo, a professional mermaid entertainer who does conservation education, and for the Menomonee Falls food pantry.

She said the business hopes to fundraise $1,500 for Courage MKE this year.

“Our goal was not to rile people up. It was just a fun event to help Courage MKE,” said Wohlfeil. “We are a private Menomonee Falls business, and we try to do good things for the community.”

Upcoming Batter & Mac fundraisers for Courage MKE

Other Batter & Mac events for adults featuring Lucinda Rear are still a go. Drag bingo on June 7 and 28 is sold out. Batter & Mac After Dark: Chopped, a cooking-themed fundraiser is slated for June 20 and that has only one seat left.

Funds raised from the events will go to Courage MKE. Wohlfeil said she is also encouraging people to donate to Courage MKE at

More: 11 facts about the Wisconsin LGBTQ community you might not have known, until now

More: Pride across a century: A look at the LGBTQ history of Wisconsin

Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or Follow her on X at @kozlowicz_cathy.

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