Subscribe to our weekly round-up of the LGBTQIA+ world and support queer creatives to kick start their career 🏳️‍⚧️🏳️‍🌈

Tennessee wants to ban drag, but the problem is far bigger than one state

Tennessee wants to ban drag, but the problem is far bigger than one state

Matilda Davies
Matilda Davies
Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:
TL;DR: Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill banning public drag shows, which is now on the governor’s desk. But the war on drag spreads far further than that - and is far more insidious.

A new law currently awaiting signature from governor Bill Lee would make Tennessee the first state to ban public drag shows. It’s feared the ban could also affect Pride events, as well as trans performers - Quartz

While Lee said he plans to sign the bill, a photo has reemerged of him dressed in drag in 1977, prompting someone at a press conference this week to ask if drag is “only illegal when gay people do it” - Guardian

A Tennessee drag queen called the bill “legislative gay bashing” and “a full-frontal assault not just on the LGBTQIA+ community, but on liberty itself” - Independent

Drag bans are inherently linked to fight against trans people

This issue is bigger than just Tennessee - there are 14 bills across the US targeting drag shows. Similar legislation that passed the Arkansas senate defines drag shows as anyone performing in clothes associated with the gender they were not assigned at birth, which clearly attacks trans people - USA Today

Kentucky recently introduced legislation seeking to ban drag shows from happening within 1,000 feet of “locations that cater to minors” such as schools, churches, parks and homes - NBC

Here’s a helpful article that lists all of the latest anti-trans bills being proposed in the US (warning: there are a lot of them), including bills preventing trans healthcare, ‘drag bans’, bathroom bills and sports bans - Them

This isn’t a specifically American problem either. A far-right group protested against a drag brunch at the Honor Oak pub in South London last weekend - Evening Standard

Last month, people protested against a drag queen storytelling event at the Tate Britain - Guardian

As Monroe Bergdorf set out in a recent post, the current anti-drag trend is inherently linked and inspired by anti-trans rhetoric. Which in itself, is an attack against all of us in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Analysis: The opposition to drag is a small, albeit vocal, minority

But underneath this dumpster fire of legislation and far-right demonstration is a glimmer of hope.

Hundreds turned out in Tennessee to protest the ‘drag ban’ - News Channel 5, The Tennessean

Celebrities have used their platforms to denounce transphobic bills like this one, including Shania Twain, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, and several RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni.

A group of MMA fighters in Ohio committed to protecting drag queens from right-wing protesters at their events - PinkNews

At the Honor Oak pub, the far-right demonstrators were far, far outnumbered by the counter-protestors who went to show their support for drag art - East London Lines

‘Drag bans’ and similar legislation targets trans people and the LGBTQIA+ community more broadly - and people are coming out in their hundreds to stand against it.

It’s a much-needed reminder that we are not alone - thousands are standing beside us, willing to fight with us.

Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

Our mission to change the media gets more important every week. Despite it feeling like a big task, I can assure you - we're up to the task.

We've been training, supporting and mentoring a new generation of LGBTQIA+ creatives for over eight years now. But we need your help now, to get even more into the industry – so we can work together to change it.

Although memberships are the best way to support us, we're in the last week of our annual crowdfunder for LGBT+ History Month.

I know it's tough out there, but the money we're trying to raise pails in comparison to what gender-critical campaigns can raise in a few hours.

Our funds will go directly to queer creatives who want to counter that narrative.

Can you help get us there and keep this newsletter thriving? Every donation helps us change the way the media reports on LGBTQIA+ lives.