RuPaul honored as "icon" on Congress House floor

Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif, took to the House floor on Wednesday to honor drag icon RuPaul Charles, and his influence on LGBTQ+ art and culture this Pride Month. 

Garcia, who is known as the first gay immigrant to be elected to Congress, started his speech off by saying: “I rise to commemorate the start of Pride Month by honoring the one and only queen of drag, RuPaul. 

RuPaul Charles has become an American phenomenon and an icon; nobody has more charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent than Charles.”

Garcia also hailed the Emmy-winning performer for elevating queer artists, primarily through the now iconic drag competition show, "RuPaul's Drag Race."

"The show has served as a critical space to discuss issues around inclusion, trans rights, mental health and self worth," said Garcia. "And this message couldn’t be more important as the LGBTQ-plus community continues to fight for equality and acceptance."


The first-term congressman's speech comes amid a tumultuous time of  an anti-drag legislative campaign aiming to restrict the LGBTQ+ community’s art form across the country.

“Drag is an art form, and it’s also a uniquely LGBTQ, queer art form,” Garcia says. “So to attack drag is to attack artists within our community. The same artists, by the way, that have always stood up for the broader gay rights movement. [They are] the same artists that have led protests led parades, fought for marriage equality, fought for equal rights at the workplace, [and] raised money during the HIV and AIDS crisis. So all of these rights that we as a broader community sometimes take for granted, at the front lines of [past] marche[s] and the marches we’re still in have always been drag queens and trans people.”

Republican lawmakers in at least 19 states have introduced legislation this year intended to restrict drag performances. Additionally, three states — Florida, Montana and Tennessee — have even gone to sign the legislation such measures into law. A federal judge stopped Tennessee's anti-drag measure last week, ruling it unconstitutional.

While ending his speech on the House floor, Garcia made a point to remind fellow lawmakers that they “must always remember what RuPaul so famously says: ‘If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?’”

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