Drag Race star Kerri Colby says drag saved her life in powerful speech at Drag March LA

Kerri Colby

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Kerri Colby told crowds at last weekend’s Drag March LA rally that the art form saved her life.

Season 14 fan favourite Colby, who shot to fame as the first openly transgender woman to compete in a regular series of Drag Race, joined protestors speaking out against anti-trans and anti-drag bills sweeping across the United States on Sunday (9 April).

Colby, who grew up in a homophobic and transphobic family in Texas, joined activists, allies and fellow Drag Race star Honey Davenport at Drag March LA, which was hosted by The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“As we know, Texas is one of the states on the forefront of the battle for transgender rights, drag and rights to expression,” Colby said.

“Without the ability to find myself and go through my journey and become who I was, I truly would not have made it here at all. It’s so important for me and all of us here to stand and fight and be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.”

Colby is the drag daughter of season 15 finalist Sasha Colby and used her time on the show to highlight the injustices against trans people in the US today, as well as pointing out the importance of drag as a lifeline for queer people.

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“This truly is everything to many people, from Black trans women [and] trans men, to non-binary and gender non-conforming people,” Kerri Kares star Colby told Drag March LA. “This [march] is not just a fun parade… this is our life.”

In 2023, several US states have already passed bans on gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Tennessee recently passed recent bills that legally erase trans people and redefine sex, as well as banning drag in public spaces, and Republican lawmakers in numerous other states are planning to continue their assault on queer liberties.

Meanwhile, recently indicted former president Donald Trump has said that if he were to take office again, he would ban gender-affirming healthcare country-wide, describing it as “an act of child abuse” and outlining his plan to stop “the chemical, physical and emotional mutilation of our youth”.

During Sunday’s march, the chief executive of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Joe Hollendoner, said: “This year alone, more than 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation have been introduced and passed throughout the United States. These bills directly target transgender people by denying them access to gender-affirming care and criminalising free gender expression.

“They seek to ban books that include LGBTQ people, erase us from history lessons and force queer people back into the closet.”

A similar rally took place in San Francisco on Saturday (8 April), where out gay California state senator Scott Wiener warned people not “mess with drag queens”.

More than 1,000 people took to the streets of San Francisco for the Drag Up! Fight Back! protest against anti-drag and anti-trans legislation.

The march also paid tribute to the city’s legendary drag star Heklina, who died in London at the age of 54 earlier this month.