Vanessa Williams defends LGBTQ+ friends at GLAAD Awards: ‘Drag queens are not murdering people’

Ugly Betty icon Vanessa Williams told the GLAAD Awards she won’t allow her LGBTQ+ friends to be forced “back in the closet”.

The actor, singer and ally attended the 34th GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday (30 March), and used her time on the red carpet to throw her support behind drag queens and the wider LGBTQ+ community

Williams, 60, judges the Paramount+ drag singing contest Queens of the Universe, and reiterated that there is nothing dangerous about the art form.

“We are judging drag queens on the daily which is so much fun, but also, having a point of perspective where we are gathering for people, for humanity, when it seems like the rest of the world is falling apart,” she told Billboard.

“GLAAD Awards ain’t killing anybody. Drag queens are not murdering people,” she added, passionately. “We are a wonderful community that has a voice.”

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At the beginning of March, Tennessee became the first state to outlaw public drag performances, while similar legislation is progressing across the US. Hundreds of other bills are in the works in states throughout the country, aimed at tearing down LGBTQ+ rights.

During the GLAAD Awards ceremony, Williams was joined by RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage to present the award for Outstanding Documentary, and once again used the opportunity to speak up in defence of queer people.

“I stand here tonight in allyship with the LGBTQ community. Over the years I’ve watched my LGBTQ friends shift from silence and fear to confidence, advocacy, and non-stop pride,” she told the audience.

“And I am not about to let a politician, a so-called journalist or any kind of hater push my friends back in the closet.”

The Desperate Housewives star has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly when it came to fighting for marriage equality in her home state, New York.

While she devoted part of her speech to the community’s ongoing struggles with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Williams also reflected on how far we have come.

“The fact that I grew up in New York back in the day where balls were very private, where being gay was not acceptable, where fighting for your own truth and humanity was looked down upon,” she said, “and to see where we are now, where we are all celebrating everyone’s uniqueness and talent together – we’ve come leaps and bounds.”

Elsewhere at the GLAAD Media Awards, Christina Aguilera gave an impassioned speech about the queer community teaching her how to give good blow jobs, and Jennifer Coolidge thanked the gays.

Christina Aguilera in a blue dress holding a microphone and her GLAAD Award stood against a blue sequinned background.
Christina Aguilera says the queer community taught her about family, life, and how to give good head. (Getty/Jerod Harris)

Big winners of the night included Mike White’s The White Lotus and since-cancelled TV series A League of Their Own.

The GLAAD Media Awards celebrates artists and icons in the media world who are furthering LGBTQ+ inclusion.

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