Pride event overturns ban on drag queens… but only if they’re trans

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Organisers of a pride event that banned all drag performers have changed their policy – but will still ban “cisgender” drag queens.

Free Pride Glasgow – which was set up as an “anti-commercialist” alternative to the main Pride Glasgow event – made the controversial decision to ban drag performances ahead of the event next month, claiming that despite drag being a uniquely celebrated part of most Prides, drag performers would not be welcome to perform at Free Pride.

A statement from the group claimed that drag acts make people questioning their gender uncomfortable, adding: “After much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event.

“This does not mean that people of any gender can’t wear what they want to the event, we simply won’t be having any self-described drag acts perform at our Free Pride Event on the 22nd August.”

However, following a strong negative reaction online – with RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage slamming the “bulls**t” decision – the policy has been slightly changed.

A follow-up statement said: “First of all, we would like to confirm that after a further consultation trans drag performers will be invited to perform at Free Pride on the 22nd August.

“The trans caucus and Free Pride as a whole thought protecting the privacy of trans drag performers was the most important thing, but trans drag performers have let us know that letting them perform is more important to them.

“People appeared to understand that we attempted to communicate that trans drag performers’ rights are secondary to other trans people’s rights.

“We did not mean to send this message and apologise to trans drag performers for unintentionally doing so. Unfortunately this also appears to have offended trans drag performers.”

It continued: “We understand that many, if not all other venues celebrating pride around Glasgow will have drag performers throughout the day and so we want to provide something different.

“We understand that drag is multifaceted and complex, and drag acts come from all angles and in a lot of different styles and we certainly do not want to attack individual drag queens or imply that all drag is inherently transphobic or problematic.

“However our focus for the day will be on creating an alternative that puts minorities within our community at the heart of event.”