RuPaul has stressed the importance of voting in light of anti-drag legislation that has made its way through the United States.
On 2 March, Tennessee became the first state to ban drag shows from taking place in public spaces and/or places where minors may be present, with similar bills introduced in at least 14 others including Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
In a video posted to Drag Race’s social media channels, RuPaul called the bills “a classic distraction technique”.
The Emmy Award-winning host said the right-wing are “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 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. That is our strength.”
RuPaul described drag queens as the “marines of the queer movement” and urged American citizens to “register to vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government”.
He concluded his statement: “And by the way, a social media post has never been as powerful as a registered vote.”
Various Drag Race stars have shared their outrage at the legislation and explained how crucial it is for allies to stand behind the drag community.
Jinkx Monsoon, the franchise’s first two-time winner who is currently starring in Chicago on Broadway, called out the silence of those who have ever made money off of a drag queen or enjoyed the art of drag.
“Yet again, queer people are the only people talking about queer issues, even though we’ve been the court jesters for a lot of ‘allies’ lately – but I guess y’all are just fence riders when it comes to choosing between right and objectively evil,” they wrote on Instagram.
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) March 8, 2023
Season six and All Stars 3 alum BenDeLaCreme said the laws “are nothing more than scapegoating to distract from the REAL issues impacting everyday people in the cities and towns where these bills are being passed.”
She added: “We all know that the almighty dollar wields so much power in this country so I really hope that businesses involved in nightlife and entertainment BOYCOTT the cities and states who pass these bills.
“Let them feel the ramifications of an economy without queer entertainment and queer establishments.”
Season 12 contestant Jackie Cox urged her followers to call out major companies staying silent on the matter.
She tweeted: “I know y’all want every celeb/company you know to speak out against what is happening in Tennessee but their gov is not gonna care, because those companies are not based in TN.
“Let’s get specific: @FedEx YOU ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST COMPANIES BASED IN TENNESSEE WHY ARE YOU SILENT?!”
Bob the Drag Queen, season eight champion, urged anyone who enjoys entertainment based around drag to challenge the aforementioned legislation.
“If you watch Drag Race, Pose, Legendary, Dragula, etc. you need to make your choice heard,” they wrote on social media. “These anti trans/ anti drag bills are actually starting to make their way through, and after that have taken down trans and nonbinary people. . . GAY BOYZ, YOU’RE NEXT!! Trust and believe.”
American citizens can check if they’re registered to vote here.