RuPaul, the world’s most prominent promoter of the art of drag, has spoken out against anti-drag and other anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that’s been introduced in states around the U.S.
The host of RuPaul’s Drag Race posted a video to Instagram Wednesday lambasting the politicians who are targeting the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender people and drag queens, instead of addressing the real problems facing Americans.
“Hey, look over there!” he said. “A classic distraction technique, distracting us away from the real issues that they were voted into office to focus on: jobs, health care, keeping our children safe from harm at their own school. But we know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues. 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.”
“Drag queens are the Marines of the queer movement,” he continued. “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. And by the way, a social media post has never been as powerful as a registered vote.”
RuPaul also posted a link to the American Civil Liberties Union’s Drag Defense Fund, which will support the ACLU’s LGBTQ+ rights work. RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder are donating to it. MTV airs Drag Race, and World of Wonder is the production company.
At least 26 bills seeking to restrict drag performances have been introduced this year, across 14 states. Tennessee last week became the first state to pass one. A bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee redefines “male and female impersonators” as adult cabaret performers and bans “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors.” Drag performances could not take place on public property or in venues accessible to minors. The first violation of the law would be a misdemeanor offense, with a penalty of up to 11 months and 29 days in prison and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. A further violation would be a felony, with one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.