Skip to main content

RuPaul Responds to the ‘Bullies’ Behind Anti-Drag Legislation, Calling it ‘A Classic Distraction Technique’

The United States is experiencing an attack on drag queens and trans people in the form of harmful legislation across the country. RuPaul, the self-described Queen of Drag, spoke out about the laws that are sweeping the nation.

As anti-drag and anti-trans legislation sweeps the country, Emmy-winning TV host RuPaul used his platform to shine a light on the issues. The RuPaul’s Drag Race icon called out the “stunt queens” in Congress and in state and local governments across the nation who are working to criminalize many aspects of LGBTQ life.

RuPaul | Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Tennessee outlawed drag queens and trans people

In March 2023, Tennessee passed the first law in the nation limiting “adult cabaret entertainment.” By the law’s categorization, “any performance “male or female impersonators” are banned from performing anywhere in public where minors could see their performance. As a result, drag performers are now categorized as sex workers, and must get exotic dance licenses, which puts the liquor licenses of venues that host drag events in jeopardy.

The law’s vague wording also threatens the daily life of transgender people, as it criminalizes dressing up in clothes typical of another gender besides the one assigned at birth. The anti-drag and anti-trans law comes days after Gov. Bill Lee signed another bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for minors in the state.

RuPaul’s response to the anti-drag and anti-trans legislation around the country

With Tennessee taking the most drastic steps yet in restricting LGBTQ life in the United States, RuPaul’s Drag Race queens from the state such as Eureka! and Aura Mayari have spoken out about the law. RuPaul himself also shared his thoughts on the situation, and on all the attempts to outlaw drag performers and trans people in America.

“Hey! Look over there! A classic distraction technique,” the TV host said in an Instagram video, referencing an iconic quote from RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jaida Essence Hall. “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. But we know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues.”

“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,” he continued.

“Drag queens are the Marines of the queer movement. Don’t get it twisted and don’t be distracted. Register to vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government. And by the way, a social media post has never been as powerful as a registered vote,” he concluded.


‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Malaysia Babydoll Foxx Was ‘Shocked’ She Didn’t Lip-Sync Against Mistress Isabelle Brooks

Other states are moving to restrict drag

Tennessee is the first state to official restrict drag performances, but it appears that it won’t be the last. Similar laws have been moving through legislatures in states including Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia all have introduced bills that aim to recategorize drag as “adult entertainment” and, as a result, govern it as such. In some states such as Arkansas, the laws have already been passed and are on the books.