‘Drag Race’ star Jinkx Monsoon slams wave of anti-drag laws
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Jinkx Monsoon doubled down on her denunciation of the Republican-led legislative push to restrict drag performances, in an interview aired Friday on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour With Stephanie Ruhle.”
“What I want to say to people who are trying to oppress my community right now is look at what happened every time you tried to oppress a community in America,” Monsoon told Ruhle. “You tried to oppress women, women got the right to vote. You tried to oppress people of color, we don’t accept that anymore.
She added: “We don’t accept that some citizens should just sit on the outside and be the outcasts of our society, because that’s not what this country was supposedly founded on.”
Lawmakers in at least 16 states have so far this year proposed legislation that would limit drag performances, according to an analysis by NBC News. The majority of the bills would ban performances in the presence of minors and impose fines on repeat offenders in the thousands of dollars. Some would ban the art form in public and send repeat offenders to jail.
This month, Tennessee became the first state to pass such legislation, banning “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in places where it can be viewed by minors. Performers who break the law more than once can be charged with a crime and sent to prison for up to six years.
Proponents argue that these measures are necessary to protect children from exposure to inappropriate entertainment.
Critics, like Monsoon, say these bills unfairly target the art form because of its deep ties to the LGBTQ community.
Monsoon, who currently stars as Matron “Mama” Morton on Broadway’s “Chicago,” won season five of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” She speculated that the recent wave of anti-drag legislation is a response to the “fear” of changing gender norms in America.
“We have been conditioned to believe that there is a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way of doing things and that there is a ‘natural’ way and an ‘unnatural’ way of doing things”, a- she declared. “Imagine how infuriating it would be if you spent your whole life following the rules and then you were told that the rules don’t actually exist.”
She added: “We should be told that whatever works for you is natural, normal and right.”
Monsoon, who identifies as non-binary and uses his pronouns when not cross-dressing, also gave a controversial speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month, where a speaker said “the transgender must be completely eradicated from public life”. speaker’s remark wasn’t really what scared him the most.
“What scares me the most are the people who cheered,” she said.
When asked by Ruhle what her message was for LGBTQ people who are scared in this current political environment, Monsoon advised them to move to areas of the country where they can “find their community.”
“There are places where it’s safe to be queer, drag queen or trans at any age, and there are places in this country where it’s not,” Monsoon said. “I mean, they’re still debating whether we deserve to exist in certain parts of our country.”
“We need you with us to keep fighting for our liberties and our liberties and our equalities,” she continued. “And if you have to move to a more metropolitan area, until the rest of the country catches up, you know, do whatever it takes to protect yourself and find your community so you can live your life honestly and shameless.”
To this, Ruhle replied: “Madam, you don’t just exist – you shine.”