Around the country, LGBTQ+ folks — especially transgender people — are fighting on all fronts to protect their freedom and safety.
A number of states have introduced (and, unfortunately, passed) bills that would criminalize drag performances, arguing that such performances are “harmful to children.”
Well, most of us know that’s not true.
And fans of the hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are especially strong advocates for the beauty, power, and resilience of drag in queer communities.
On Reddit, fans have gathered to share why drag — and the show, specifically — have been such a positive influence in their lives.
“Growing up with multiple LGBTQ+ influences, I was lucky enough to gain multitudes of exposure to the queer community during my most formative years,” user u/goopedandgagged wrote, after sharing stories of their drag queen uncle.
“As a result, I never felt shameful or unsafe in my own queer identity. Exposure creates tolerance. And for young queer kids, exposure facilitates early self-acceptance.”
Another commenter, u/Galactus_is_coming, said they learned about “Drag Race” after seeing an ad for the show on the side of a city bus.
“I fell in love with the queens and fell in love with the idea of being excited and proud of my queerness,” they write. “They gave me the confidence to come out… to walk through the school quad in high heels, an ostrich boa, and head held high. Those queens gave me the confidence to be me.”
Amid the celebration of queer joy, fans of the show amplify a call to donate, pointing to the Drag Defense Fund, a fundraiser developed by the ACLU and World of Wonder, the production company that makes “Drag Race.”
Ultimately, performers and fans alike know that the best form of resistance is ensuring that the show goes on.
“Performing music saves my life,” Josie Wreck, a transgender first-generation Chicana chanteuse, told the LA Times, after she was targeted in an anti-trans attack in a nightclub.
“We have no choice but to express ourselves and to hold space for each other and ourselves. There is no option but to continue being who we are.”
Fighting this hateful legislation will take the ongoing fortitude of the drag community, the solidarity and resources of audiences and supporters — and bold, audacious joy.
“They think our love, light, laughter, and our joy are signs of weakness,” RuPaul herself said in an Instagram video. “But they’re wrong; because that is our strength.”
A version of this article was originally published in The 2023 Fandom Edition of the Goodnewspaper.
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