RuPaul, the queen of drag, is urging Americans to vote “these stunt queens out of office” in response to the recent wave of legislation banning drag shows.
In a video posted to Instagram on Wednesday, the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” creator and host called Republican lawmakers’ fixation on anti-drag and anti-trans legislation a diversion and likened it to bully behavior.
“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,” RuPaul said.
“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.”
The Emmy-winning host then issued a call to action.
“Drag queens are the Marines of the queer movement. Don’t get it twisted and don’t be distracted,” RuPaul continued. “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.”
On Thursday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill restricting “adult cabaret performances” in public spaces, which includes “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest.”
A bill banning gender-affirming health care for transgender youths in Tennessee was signed into law on the same day. And on Monday, Tennessee passed another anti-drag bill, this one requiring “adult cabaret performers” to get a permit in order to perform.
Lawmakers in 14 states — including Arizona, North Dakota, Kentucky and Texas — have also proposed anti-drag and anti-trans laws with similar language.
When “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars gathered in West Hollywood for a recent viewing party celebrating the show’s 200th episode, current contestants and alums were vocal about the way the drag bans impact the community.
Season 15 contestant Sasha Colby said, “It’s wild to see what’s going on as all these anti-trans bills being disguised as anti-drag bills.”
“You know what we’re not gonna do?” Colby asked. “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.”
Jackie Cox, who competed on Season 12, offered encouragement to anyone feeling attacked and said that if she hadn’t found drag, she wouldn’t be a whole person.
“Seeing what’s going on in the news, maybe you’re feeling like they’re coming for us and they are, but you know what? We’re stronger, we’re gonna keep fighting, we’re gonna make sure that none of these anti-trans and anti-drag laws stay. They’re going bye-bye,” Cox said. “We’re going to keep fighting this fight.”