RuPaul slams Republicans’ attempts to ban kids from drag shows: ‘This is a diversion tactic’

RuPaul wears a white blonde wig and yellow dress as the drag queen sits in front of a pink and orange patterned background

RuPaul has said Republicans’ efforts ban kids from drag events is really a “diversion tactic” to move “away from the gun debate” in the US.

The Late Late Show host James Corden mentioned to RuPaul that Texas Republican Bryan Slaton has vowed to file a problematic bill that would “ban drag shows in the presence of minors” in the state. Slaton claimed the legislation would be “protecting kids from drag shows” and other so-called “inappropriate displays”. 

Republican lawmakers in other states have now begun to introduce similar legislation, but Mama Ru doesn’t have time for it. RuPaul said the attempts to ban kids from drag performances are just a “diversion tactic” being used by Republicans to distract people from important issues in the US like gun control. 

“It’s a diversion tactic to take the narrative away from the gun debate into something [else], to scare people into thinking about something else, and they’ve been successful,” RuPaul said.

The legendary Drag Race host continued: “They have changed the narrative away from the gun debate into this drag queen thing. 

“Y’all want to help your kids? Take away them guns, that will help your kids! 

“Drag queens ain’t hurt nobody. You’re born naked, and the rest is drag. 

“Everybody’s in drag, okay! Child, please.”

RuPaul isn’t the only Drag Race star to criticise Slaton’s proposed statewide ban on minors attending drag shows. Michelle VisageElektra FenceAlyssa EdwardsAkeria C DavenportDenali and Joey Jay have all hit back at the hateful proposal. 

Drag Queen Story Hour – an organisation that brings drag queens to libraries, schools, and bookstores to read stories to children across the US – declared that attempts to criminalise their work are “rooted in tired homophobic and transphobic hate and misinformation”

Jonathan Hamilt, the executive director of Drag Queen Story Hour, told the Independent that the organisation refuses to “give in to politicians who are too bigoted and boring to comprehend” its wonderful “vision for a world in which every child can be safe fully expressing who they are”. 

Hamilt added the efforts to criminalise drag shows were just “smoke and mirrors” to distract Americans from the epidemic of mass shootings in the country. 

“You know, 19 students just got shot in Texas, and Texas legislation wants to ban minors from going to drag shows,” Hamilt said. “It makes zero sense.”

Hamilt continued: “It’s a sad, sorry excuse… [for] the lack of gun control, and that’s the real issue.

“Drag queens aren’t going into schools to shoot kids… when did we decide that it’s appropriate to teach kids how to hide under desks and not to talk about LGBTQ+ people and histories?”

Two drag artists sit in front of a crowd of children and adults. One performer is reading from a book while another performer is smiling at the crowd

Drag Queen Story Hour boss Jonathan Hamilt says efforts to criminalise drag events are “rooted in tired homophobic and transphobic hate and misinformation”. (Frederic J Brown/AFP via Getty)

Governor Ron DeSantis suggested he could order officials to investigate parents who take their kids to drag performances in Florida, and he claimed it was “inappropriate” for minors to be at family-friendly drag shows. 

Florida state representative Anthony Sabatini took it a step further and announced he would bring forth legislation making it a “felony” for parents to take kids to such events. He said the legislation would also terminate the “parental rights of any adult who brings a child to these perverted sex shows aimed at FL kids”. 

GOP leaders in Arizona are following in the footsteps of their counterparts in Florida and Texas. The Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus said in a press release Tuesday (14 June) that it would be “damned” if it didn’t “fight like hell to protect the most innocent” from attending drag shows, which it described as a “horrifying and disturbing” trend.

“If men want to dress as women, and if adults want to participate in watching these hyper-sexualised performances, they have the freedom to do so,” the statement continued. “It crosses the line when kids are subjected to these drag shows.” 

Arizona senator Vince Leach told NPR that he thought drag performers are “disgusting”. He also told the outlet that he was drafting legislation to stop parents from taking kids to family-friendly drag events.