UpRising Bakery stands strong against anti-LGBTQ protesters

Protesters and counterprotesters at UpRising Bakery on Saturday, Sept. 17. Photo from Facebook.

Anti-LGBTQ protesters waving Trump flags protested at UpRising Bakery and Cafe over the weekend, but were met with counterprotestors with Pride flags and lines going down the block.

The bakery has been target of the far-right since it tried to host a drag brunch in July, when it was hit with vandalism. Since then, it’s stood against an attempt to stop all events at the business and continued harassment. They did still hold the drag brunch.

That harassment turned into protesters who on Saturday parked themselves in the parking lot and at the entrance to the strip mall where UpRising Bakery is.

But the business wasn’t facing the protestors alone. The suburban LGBTQ community and allies came out to support the business to the point where UpRising ran out of stock. They were closed on Sunday, but only because they had to get more supplies. They reopen on Monday.

The Daily Herald reported that Elgin Township board member Eric Stare was among those protesting against the drag shows. He said only adults should be able to go to drag shows, but when asked about parents taking their kids to drag events, he compared it to child abuse.

“Why do we even have to ask questions like that?” he told the newspaper. “Doesn’t it just automatically register in your mind that that’s wrong?”

Stare told the Herald he was encouraging people to attend the Lake in the Hills village board meeting on Tuesday to “make your voices known.”

James Gustafson, a former village resident who came from Arizona to protest, told the newspaper he would come back for the foreseeable future.

“I already rented a tent for the winter with a heater. This is my new home,” he said.

The bakery has asked people to not engage with the protesters.

“Thank you to every single person who came out yesterday to support us, stand with us, spread love and joy with us,” owner Corinna Bendel-Sac said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “I don’t think this is the last time we’ll need you to be our line of defense. I am so happy that you kept it peaceful and no one was hurt(that’s my biggest fear). Please know I appreciate you more than you can ever know.”

The next Lake in the Hills village board meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7:45 p.m. The village hall is at 600 Harvest Gate.

UpRising’s Drag Dinner & Show is on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through EventBrite.