The ban on drag

They don’t care about safety or protecting people, only control.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons | Famous drag artist Poison Waters who co-hosted with Darcelle performing in Portland, Oregon.

These last few years have been nothing short of overwhelming. Something new has been restricted or reviewed every week, except for what really needs to be. Recently, drag performers have been under attack by the United States Government and conservative ideology. 

For reference, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a drag performer as someone who adopts a flamboyant or parodic feminine persona, with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup. However, this is not how it is interpreted in the bills being passed. Instead drag performers are seen as anyone not dressing for their assigned gender. 

The disdain for drag and the queer community has come from a largely conservative population, many of whom are religious. That same population has made up lies about the drag and queer community. Today, drag performances have been made illegal in certain states like Tennessee and Florida. The bills regulating this are not only targeting drag, but those that are transgender. This has opened the door for more bills to be passed against the LGBTQIA+ community. 

A recent NPR article, “The anti-drag bills sweeping the U.S. are straight from history’s playbook”, highlighted that the anti-drag bills being passed not only limit drag shows but also include $2,500 fines and possible jail time for offenders. One bill in question,?? the Tennessee Senate Bill 3, also included shocking anti-transgender and gender-affirming legislation to not only target drag performers, but the transgender community as well. Why is it we care more about forcing our own “lifestyle” and beliefs on everyone rather than protecting the lives that are being lost every day? 

Children are some of the most vulnerable and influential people. They are also very resilient and can overcome a lot. Drag performances often have themes and they tend to want to spread a message of positivity, like a children’s book reading. Any show that is not meant for children tends to be age-restricted. Drag and the LGBTQIA+ community has always been very accepting of self-expression and being authentic to yourself. Yet, many are still very against drag performances for whatever reason. 

These bills being passed are just another example of the continued blending of church and state here in the U.S. While there are no inherent risks to a child being read to by a drag queen or just being aware of drag, many seem to have issues with it. In response to these acts, many have taken to TikTok and other social media platforms. They point out that while there had never been a recorded case of any abuse at reading with a drag queen, yet countless had experienced abuse at the hands of the churches and during mass shootings in schools.

It is very clear that the U.S. Government cares more about religion, and to a larger extent, control, rather than what actually impacts our every day. This has been shown in many other actions the U.S. government has taken. This includes a number of things, specifically the bills that have been passed and cases that have been overturned in recent years. School and mass shootings have become increasingly more common and dangerous. We continue to do nothing about them, only sending “thoughts and prayers,” a ban on Harry Potter and other books, and of course a ban on drag performance and culture. 

The U.S. is in a very critical position right now. We are at a crossroad where one of two things could happen. Either, we fall into a fascist regime that targets minorities, or change is made to make it safe for everyone to be able to live their lives without fear of discrimination. I for one am tired of the constant discrimination and lack of concern for public safety, while changes are being made in the wrong places.

Photo by Destiny Valencia | Cast of Darcelle’s performing at Darcelle XV Showplace