RuPaul Charles says the dozens of statehouse bills calling for restrictions on drag shows and trans rights are a “classic distraction” from politicians’ major failures to meaningfully address more universal issues.
“Hey, look over there!” the co-creator of the hit competition series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” quipped at the beginning of an Instagram video. “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.”
Charles is referring to a recent trend of bills being proposed, debated – and in a few cases, passed – mostly in Republican-led state legislatures. At least 11 state legislatures are seeking to restrict or completely ban drag show performances when minors or school-aged children are present; still more bills seek to restrict or ban gender transition treatment for minors.
“But we know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues,” Charles 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.”
Charles went on to call drag queens the “Marines” of the queer movement and encouraged Americans to vote.
“Don’t get it twisted and don’t be distracted,” Charles said. “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.”
The ACLU has identified nearly 400 bills in the U.S. that it calls harmful to LGBTQ people. As recently as Monday, in a 72-24 vote, the state of Tennessee passed a bill that bans minors from attending “adult cabaret” entertainment.
In an effort to combat the rising amount of anti-drag legislations, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and MTV have to World of Wonder’s first-ever Drag Defense Fund, which seeks to support drag performers.
“Families, communities, and transgender people ourselves are working tirelessly against a relentless assault on transgender people’s basic freedom and rights,” said Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “Across the history of the queer community, our art and our joy has been censored, restricted, and criminalized and those pillars of our community are once again coming under attack. We’re thankful for the support of the Drag Defense Fund and are committed to protecting drag performers from these baseless and unconstitutional attacks on their art.”