Drag queens have long been the subject of protests by numerous right winged groups. And on the eve of Tennessee’s anti-drag bill, the LGBTQ+ community is seeing more legislation against their members.
Tennessee’s controversial anti-drag bill which would prevent performances from “male and female impersonators” on public property — passed through the state’s House on February 23. It will return to the state Senate for a procedural vote before being signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee.
While Tennessee is likely to become the first state to formally ban drag shows, there are at least 36 proposed bills that target drag in at least 14 other states, including Arizona, Idaho, and Texas.
According to GLAAD, as of February 2023, nearly 300 similar bills have already been introduced across multiple states. Fortunately, these proposed legislations are not without protests from LGBTQ+ allies.
During a party celebrating the 200th episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race, some of the show’s alum took some time amid the event to speak out against Tennesse’s controversial bill.
“It’s wild to see what’s going on as all these anti-trans bills [are] being disguised as anti-drag bills,” Sasha Colby, the drag legend who is currently competing on the show’s 15th season, said. “You know what we’re not gonna do? We’re not gonna let them take us down. We’re going to keep doing what we need to do. Because you know what? Drag is for us and drag is art.”
Meanwhile, Season 12 queen Heidi N Closet shared her first hand experiences protesting similar legislation in the past.
“It has truly brought out a side in the world that I have not seen in many years,” she said. “Being a gay, Black man from the south, I’ve seen such bigoted behavior and such disrespect and racism and every time those things come to light it tears us apart.”
Some queens are even taking the conversation to their online platforms and audiences. Jinkx Monsoon penned a heartfelt and educational post highlighting the massive influx of anti-drag legislation across the country.
“Last night my heart was broken as I learned that Tennessee’s anti-drag/trans bill passed. I really had more faith,” Jinkx wrote alongside an image of a map and the status anti-drag bans for each US state.
“We are fighting an uphill battle as a direct result of the progress we have made— and the insidious efforts of the conservative right (and well, ALL republicans at this point, you f*cking evil cowards).”
The queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race are notorious for promoting advocacy. The popular drag competition show premiered in 2009. Since then, the series has become a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community.
Over the years, the show has tackled some deep and important issues. Conversations ranging from stigmas around HIV, mental health struggles, addicition and gender identity have all been discussed.
Undoubtedly there will be more messages regarding the recent legislations to come on future episodes of the competition series.
What are your thoughts on the recent bills being introduced? Let us know in the comments down below.
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I go to numerous Drag shows. I am not part of the community but I am a huge Ally. I promise if they pass these bans I will move out of the state I currently live in to a drag friendly state.