Senator Scott Wiener warns ‘don’t mess with drag queens’ as hundreds rally against anti-LGBTQ+ laws

Hundreds march in San Francisco against anti-trans and anti-drag laws

A senator has warned people not “mess with drag queens” as more than 1,000 people took to the streets of San Francisco to protest against anti-drag and anti-trans legislation in the United States. 

The Drag Up! Fight Back! rally took place in the city on Saturday (8 April) and featured a Drag Queen Story Hour. 

Taking to the stage at the rally, California state senator Scott Wiener said: “In 1987, if you had said that in 2023 we would still have to be arguing about whether we have a right to exist, that they would still be calling us pedophiles and predators and groomers… if you had told me that, I would have said, there’s no way that would be happening.

“But that is what’s happening. This is a huge threat to our community.”

He went on to praise trans kids for being “so damn brave” for being who they are.

“Let’s be clear why they’re doing this: they don’t want to talk about the fact that children are getting shot and killed in classrooms in this country… they don’t want to talk about real issues. 

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“If there’s one thing that I have learned over the [past] 36 years, [it’s]… don’t mess with drag queens.”

The protest was organised by The People’s March, the San Francisco Democratic Party and not-for- profit LGBTQ+ group, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SOPI).

Sister Roma, a member of SOPI, told NBC News: “I am here because drag is not a crime, and trans rights are human rights.

“The LGBTQ community will not be silenced. We will not be erased and we will not be criminalised.”

Joanie Juster, one of the event’s organisers, added: “There has been so much anti-trans, anti-drag legislation passed… it’s creating a dangerous atmosphere of hate and potential violence.” 

The march also paid tribute to legendary San Francisco drag performance Heklina, who died at the age of 54 earlier this month. 

“Heklina leaves us when drag is both in peril and too successful, threatened by legislation,” said organiser D’Arcy Drollinger.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) claims it has tracked more than 460 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being advanced in the US in 2023, with more than 25 “bathroom bills” filed, and many more aimed at banning or limiting gender-affirming care for young people

“More than 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date,” an HRC spokesperson said.

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