True extent of far-right attacks on drag laid bare in new report: Fire bombs and bullets in the post

A photo of pro-drag march with people at the front of the crowd holding a banner with the slogan "It's still just a drag march, you may applaud".

A shocking new report has revealed the sheer volume of US anti-drag attacks in 2022 alone.

Research conducted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) revealed that there have been 124 anti-drag attacks in the US this year, as of 21 November 2022.

It also found that these incidents had occurred in 47 different US states, excluding only four – South Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Washington DC.

A majority of these incidents took place during Pride festivals in June, but carried on substantially into the rest of the year.

“The analysis shows increasingly violent rhetoric and incidents as the year progressed, including the firebombing of a Tulsa doughnut shop that had hosted a drag event in October,” the report read.

A bullet with the phrase ‘more to come’

GLAAD clarified that the Colorado Springs shooting, which took place during a drag show in the LGBTQ+ bar Club Q, was not included in the report as the motive “had not yet been formally declared”.

A protester carrying a Transgender pride flag confronts Patriotic Alternative supporters who oppose the drag queen story hour outside the Forum library.

A protester carrying a Transgender pride flag confronts Patriotic Alternative supporters who oppose the drag queen story hour outside the Forum library. (Getty)

Of the states to have experienced anti-drag crimes, both Texas and North Carolina hold the joint top spot with 10 anti-drag attacks each.

It also reported that a number of incidents involved violence or weaponry of some kind, while some white supremacist groups, such as the Proud Boys, had a level of involvement in several incidents.

One in Chicago saw the cancellation of a drag bingo event at a public library after organisers received a letter and a bullet with the phrase “more to come”.

Another of the attacks in Texas saw armed anti-fascist activists protect an all-ages drag brunch from far-right protestors seeking to disrupt the event.

Links between far-right media and drag bans

Texas is also one of the nine states where bans or restrictions on drag have been proposed, which also includes Montana, Florida, and Idaho.

Both Tennessee and Texas have introduced legislation targeting public drag performances in the past two weeks.

“In most cases, extremist politicians pointed to local drag events as the motivation for new legislation that would ban public drag performances,” GLAAD wrote in its report.

“This report notes the connection between newsmaking incidents and bills or legal action later introduced.

“In one case, Ron DeSantis filed a legal complaint against a Miami restaurant alleging disorderly conduct after LibsOfTikTok posted a video of a drag performance there.”

Other incidents that GLAAD noted included Michigan lawmakers announcing a plan to ban drag from schools despite there being no evidence of any drag events having occurred at a school in the state.

“A number of the drag events targeted by threats and protests in person were first targeted by right-wing media outlets like Fox News and the Daily Wire,” the report continued.

“The outlets and accounts often misrepresented what would occur at upcoming drag events, spinning them as harmful to children.”

According to a report from Media Matters in June, Fox News had allegedly devoted more time to targeting drag queens, trans people, and the general LGBTQ+ community than to coverage of the 6 January insurrection on the Capitol building.

Additionally, a further report found that misinformation regarding drag events only further bolstered the level of vitriol against performers and attendees.

Drag attacks beyond the US

America isn’t the only country to have been attacked by the vitriol of anti-drag protestors over the past year, with the UK also seeing several protests against drag events, especially for family-friendly shows.

The organisation Drag Queen Story Hour has been a particular target for anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, with drag artist Aida H Dee having faced harassment multiple times during her UK tour.

In August, at least 300 LGBTQ+ activists formed a “protective ring” around the Oxfordshire County Library to prevent those protesting one of Aida H Dee’s events to disrupt it.

Police officers at the scene created a barrier between the two groups in order to keep them separate. Two arrests were eventually made.