In a video shared on social media, Drag Race host RuPaul shared a powerful message in response to the recent wave of anti-drag and anti-trans legislation in the US.
RuPaul posted the video on Instagram on Wednesday, March 8, denouncing the actions of Republicans and urging Americans to register to vote. He began the speech by saying: “‘Hey, look over there!’ A classic distraction technique. Distracting us away from the real issues that they were voted into office to focus on. Jobs, healthcare, keeping our children safe from harm at their own school.
“But we know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues,” he continued. “They look for easy targets so they can give the impression of being effective. They think our love, our light, our laughter and our joy are signs of weakness, but they’re wrong, because that is our strength.”
He added, “Drag queens are the marines of the queer movement. Don’t get it twisted and don’t be distracted. Register to vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government”.
The video from RuPaul comes a week after Tennessee became the first US state to ban drag performances in public places with minors in the audience. The law bans all “adult cabaret performances”, which are defined as performances with “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest”. Moreover, the law also bans gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors in Tennessee.
Another Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme also recently addressed the anti-drag bills in an interview on news channel MSNBC. When asked to respond to those who claim that drag shows are “all inappropriate for kids and families”, the queen said that, while it is true that some drag shows are not appropriate for a young audience, banning all such performances for children would be the equivalent of preventing them from accessing all music and television content only because some of it is not age-appropriate.
“Drag is a wide, wide net,” she stated. “There are many types of performance that drag encompasses, and there are certainly shows with adult themes that, you know, I think parents get to make their choices as to where they bring their children and there are many wonderful drag events that they can bring their children to.”
She said, “I had the pleasure of reading at a Drag Queen Story Hour in Orlando one year after the Pulse shooting, and it was a really incredible experience to have all of these families, all of these children, fathered around listening to me read an age-appropriate book about community and togetherness and it was such a loving space.”
Several US states have already passed or are attempting to introduce legislation targeting drag performers and the trans community. Legislator Clay Yarborough presented a particularly alarming bill to the Florida Senate on March 3, which, if passed, will allow the state to be granted “emergency” custody of children whose parents are supportive of them accessing gender-affirming healthcare.
Moreover, the bill would grant the state “jurisdiction to vacate, stay, or modify a child custody determination of a court of another state”, making it possible for family members to take trans children away from supportive parents in other states and bring them to Florida.
Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida’s first Latino LGBTQ+ House representative, commented on the bill in a Twitter post, saying: “I can’t believe I’m writing this. A new FL bill will tell courts to SEIZE TRANS CHILDREN AWAY from their supportive parents if those parents provide or are “at risk” of providing them life-saving care.
“Parents would be charged with felonies and thrown in prison. This is fascist,” Smith concluded.
I can’t believe I’m writing this.
A new FL bill will tell courts to SEIZE TRANS CHILDREN AWAY from their supportive parents if those parents provide or are “at risk” of providing them life-saving care.
Parents would be charged with felonies + thrown in prison.
This is fascist. pic.twitter.com/ikJ2LzEMSg
— Carlos Guillermo Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 4, 2023
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