RuPaul makes powerful speech about anti-drag laws during Emmy win: ‘Listen to a drag queen!’

RuPaul's Drag Race wins an Emmy

RuPaul made a powerful statement about drag bans in the United States after accepting Drag Race’s Emmy for Best Reality Competition Series.

The past 12 months have been particularly tough for the LGBTQ+ community, with an unprecedented number of bills introduced throughout the US designed to restrict, endanger, or silence.

Among those are the ever-growing number of drag bans being drawn up and made into legislation.

RuPaul's Drag Race wins an Emmy
RuPaul took a moment to address the growing number of anti-drag laws being introduced. (Getty Images)

RuPaul, who has built his media empire on the beauty, laughter, entertainment, and knowledge that drag performers have to offer the world, made sure to comment on these bans on Monday night (15 January), when RuPaul’s Drag Race won yet another Emmy.

Joined by his co-stars Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews, and a whole host of drag queens, RuPaul held the award tightly and said: “Thank you so much, you lovely, lovely people. We are so honoured to have this award.

“You guys are just lovely for honouring our show and for recognising all of these queens. We have released into the wild hundreds of drag queens, and they’re beautiful. On behalf of all of them, we thank you.”

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Getting serious, he added: “Listen, if a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her.

“Because knowledge is power and if someone tries to restrict your access to power, they are trying to scare you. Listen to a drag queen, thank you! We love you!

While Tennessee and Montana last year passed legislation that would outlaw drag shows, Texas and Florida have both attempted to pass similar bans.

The state of Florida has already appealed a court decision to temporarily block its anti-drag law. Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers are considering appealing a federal court decision that ruled their proposed anti-drag law unconstitutional.

In most instances, anti-drag bans do not directly mention drag queens, but make it an offence for “male and female impersonators” or people who use “accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics” to perform on public property where they could be seen by minors.

That sort of phrasing is enough to criminalising popular events like Drag Queen Story Hours and Drag Brunches, as well as revoking drag performers’ right to work at festivals or all-ages shows.

RuPaul's Drag Race wins an Emmy
RuPaul urged viewers to listen to drag queens. (Getty Images)

These bans have been heavily criticsed by human rights and LGBTQ+ rights groups – as well as the Drag Race family.

Last Match, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the producers behind RuPaul’s Drag Race and the founders of World of Wonder, slammed the increasing number of drag bans throughout the US, labelling them as un-American.

World of Wonder has launched a Drag Defense Fund with MTV and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Last year also saw Drag Race alumni join forces for a telethon in support of the Drag Isn’t Dangerous campaign, with proceeds divided among charities that support LGBTQ+ causes and drag performers in need.

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