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Robert Garcia Honors RuPaul as ‘Iconic’ Drag Queen on House Floor

Robert Garcia Honors RuPaul as ‘Iconic’ Drag Queen on House Floor

RuPaul and Robert Garcia

The gay California Democrat is a huge fan of drag as an art form and drag queens as entertainers.

The first gay immigrant elected to Congress, Rep. Robert Garcia, praised RuPaul Charles, the superstar drag queen and star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, during a tribute on the House floor. He commended the entertainer’s commitment to uplifting LGBTQ+ people in his speech in the chamber on Wednesday.

“I rise to commemorate the start of Pride Month by honoring the one and only queen of drag, RuPaul,” the California Democrat said Wednesday morning. “RuPaul Charles has become an American phenomenon and an icon; nobody has more charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent than Charles.”

Among only a dozen LGBTQ+ members of Congress, Garcia is an outspoken defender of drag art. Garcia said he would protect and support drag queens in a profile about him in March with The Atlantic.

Garcia began listing RuPaul’s accomplishments, from launching a drag career to making chart-topping pop music. “RuPaul also became the first gay black man to host his own talk show, The RuPaul Show,” Garcia explained, adding, “He is most known, of course, for his multi-Emmy award-winning show, RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Garcia tells The Advocate that in this political moment where Republicans and others on the right seek to attack the LGBTQ+ community, those with a voice must stand up for it.

“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.”

He adds, “Clearly beyond the work of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul, and his activism, his philanthropy has been incredible for our community.”

A growing number of Republican officials are pushing legislation to crack down on where drag events can occur and who may attend them. Drag performances nationwide have become the target of violent anti-LGBTQ+ and far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, neo-Nazis, and others.

Online and at school board meetings around the country, people from well-funded conservative groups have been demonizing drag queens and transgender people (they conflate the two often, though there are certainly trans drag queens) as dangerous for children. On the right, many falsely believe there is a left-wing conspiracy among government officials, teachers, doctors, and unions to make American kids gay and trans.

Tennessee, Florida, Montana, and Texas are among the states that have banned or severely restricted drag performances this year. Tennessee became the first state to apply criminal penalties to performances in public that minors may see.

This week, a federal judge struck down that law, calling it “unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad.”

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