RuPaul’s Drag Race officially raises $2 million to fight anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US

(L-R) Plane Jane, Dawn, Nymphia Wind and Morphine Love Dion at a RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 Emmy FYC Event

RuPaul’s Drag Race has helped raise $2 million (£1.6 million) to fight anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric in America.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Drag Defence Fund was launched in April 2023, the same month that Sasha Colby won season 15 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, in response to anti-queer and anti-drag bans sweeping the US.

Mirrored by the season’s Rusical episode “Wigloose”, the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric was (and still is) threatening queer freedom across the country. Bans in Kentucky and Tennessee faced opposition from stars ranging from Trixie Mattel to Kevin Bacon.

To increase that opposition, the ACLU Drag Defence Fund was formed in partnership with RuPaul’s Drag Race, the show’s production company World of Wonder, and its current network MTV, to help raise money. And it’s clearly worked.

In a statement reported by Variety, Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ and HIV Project, said: “Drag has a long history in the queer community as not only a source of joy and creativity but as a source of power.

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“Thanks to the hard work and promotion of MTV, World of Wonder and the queens of Drag Race, the Drag Defence Fund continues to fuel our work defending LGBTQ rights across the country at a time those rights are under relentless attack.

“We’re so thankful for this partnership and the support it provides our critical work defending LGBTQ people, our rights and our families.”

Among other successes, the fund helped stop officials shutting down Pride events in Tennessee and Massachusetts.

A QR code for the fund often appears at the end of episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its spin-off All Stars, encouraging viewers to donate.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 9 is available to stream on Paramount+ in the US and WOW Presents Plus internationally.

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