By Chris Astrala

Say it again; DRAG IS NOT A CRIME ! Drag is an art form built on self-expression and artistic performance. Drag is also powerful tool for political protest, that uplifts the LGBTQ+ community in the face of discrimination and oppression.

Once a fringe art form, drag has become an increasingly visible and indispensable vertical of pop culture—influencing everything from beauty techniques  to everyday vocabulary (slay, tea, shade, gagging…etc.). Drag Race marked the dawn of a new era in drag history, welcoming it into the mainstream—but this social progress is exactly what the new legislation is designed to counteract.

The more than 20 bills nationwide are a pushback against modern drag, which has grown from an underground performance art using costumes and makeup to play with gender norms, which flourished in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender venues, to a mainstream entertainment, helped in part again by the popularity of the televised pageant show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Performers and civil rights groups have condemned the proposed drag regulations, saying they are unconstitutional, redundant under existing obscenity laws, and would lead to further harassment and violence against gay and transgender people. They see the bills as part of a Republican effort to advance laws limiting LGBT people’s conduct across the country.

Anti-drag bills are just the latest in a long history of anti-LGBT legislation that is premised on false, dangerous slurs against gay and trans people: that they are “grooming” children or seeking to sexually exploit them.

We’re living in a moment of resurgent homophobia. Like anti-Semitism, it will probably never die out, and opportunistic politicians will always find in the specter of queers a handy way to get a crowd riled up. Hence the recent Tennessee legislation (with other states sure to follow) that outlaws public shows by performers—including male and female impersonators—that the state considers harmful to minors, including, of course, the popular drag-queen story hours that libraries and bookstores have now been presenting for some time.

Our queer community refuses to be silenced and stands proud in our artistry and message of acceptance.

Drag performers wouldn’t keep quiet even during an era of rank homophobia, and you can bet that the current generation, which has tasted tolerance, won’t back down. You just don’t silence a drag queen.

On April 18, 2023, Palm Springs hosted the Drag4Drag Rally to show solidarity & support for the Drag community. With an amazing turnout, it was proof that Palm Springs and its LGBTQ community and allies are standing tall in the fight against discrimination and encouraged all people to stand in solidarity, honor and thank the Drag community. Not only was the rally an opportunity for all to be heard, but the City had also declared on that date, that Palm Springs is now a  Drag Sanctuary City.

We wanted to get insight from several of our local Drag celebrities in response to all the Drag controversy plus we threw in a few additional fun facts from these fierce Queens. Here’s what they had to say.