There’s a reason drag performers call RuPaul “mother” — if you mess with her kids, she’s going to come right back at you.
In a video posted to his Instagram on Wednesday (March 8), RuPaul called Tennessee’s new law banning drag artists from performing in public a “distraction technique” being employed by Republican lawmakers. “[It’s] 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,” he said.
The new law, signed by Gov. Bill Lee on March 3, prohibits “adult cabaret” performances from taking place “on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” The legislation defines these displays as any performance that “features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest, or similar entertainers, regardless of whether or not performed for consideration.”
Critics of the legislation have called this statue a violation of the performers’ First Amendment rights, claiming the law is an unwarranted attack on LGBTQ performers who pose no threat to children. The Tennessee chapter of the ACLU added that government officials could “easily abuse this law to censor people based on their own subjective viewpoints of what they deem appropriate.”
In his video, RuPaul called out the governor and legislators responsible for pushing this bill through. “Bullies are incompetent at solving real issues,” he said. 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 — because that is our strength.”
Calling drag queens “the Marines of the queer movement,” Ru urged viewers to take action rather than watching what happens next. “Register to vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government,” he said. “And by the way — a social media post has never been as powerful as a registered vote.”
Check out RuPaul’s full video statement below: