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Art & Culture

Lizzo and Drag Race Stars Defy Tennessee’s Anti-Drag Legislation

  • Craig Miller
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  • June 12, 2023
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  • 3 minute read
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Lizzo and Drag Race Stars Defy Tennessee’s Anti-Drag Legislation
Key Takeaways
  • Lizzo and Orville Peck, along with other performers, defy Tennessee's controversial drag ban by inviting drag performers to share the stage during their recent performances.
  • The legislation criminalizing drag performances reflects a broader trend of anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment across the US.
  • Lizzo's Knoxville performance became a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community where she emphasized the importance of bringing her message of love, acceptance, and unity to those who need to hear it the most.
  • Orville Peck and songwriter Leland pledged their support to the ACLU's Drag Defense Fund, which aims to defend drag performers in states where the art form is targeted by legislation.
  • Their performances and collaborations serve as a reminder that art has the power to heal, connect, and inspire change, and more allies are needed to join the fight against anti-drag legislation and support marginalized communities.

Pop sensation Lizzo and Grammy-winner Orville Peck have joined forces with other celebrities and performers to defy Tennessee’s controversial drag ban by inviting drag performers to share the stage during their recent performances.

This powerful display of unity comes in response to legislation aimed at criminalizing drag performances in the state, reflecting a broader trend of anti-drag and anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment across the US.

Lizzo’s Knoxville Show Becomes a Safe Space

During her blockbuster performance in Knoxville, Lizzo, 34, invited RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni on stage, turning the show into a celebration of drag and a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Addressing the audience, Lizzo explained her decision to perform in Tennessee despite calls for her to cancel the show.

She emphasized the importance of bringing her message of love, acceptance, and unity to those who need to hear it the most.

Orville Peck and Leland Stand with Drag Performers

Orville Peck and songwriter Leland, who recently collaborated for a rendition of “Built on Drag” during the Season 15 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, pledged their support to the ACLU’s Drag Defense Fund.

The fund aims to defend drag performers in states where the art form is targeted by legislation. Peck, an openly gay country singer, urged allies to step up and support the LGBTQIA+ community, stating that marginalized groups cannot fight these battles alone.

He emphasized the need for understanding and curiosity, rather than defense and aggression, in the face of unfamiliarity.

The controversial legislation introduced by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, is part of a broader trend of Republican lawmakers attempting to clamp down on drag performances in public spaces across the US.

The Ongoing Fight Against Anti-Drag Legislation

The controversial legislation introduced by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, is part of a broader trend of Republican lawmakers attempting to clamp down on drag performances in public spaces across the US.

Critics argue that the bill, which prohibits “adult cabaret performances in public and in front of children,” largely targets trans and gender non-conforming people.

Late last month, a federal judge temporarily blocked the strict limits, siding with a lawsuit that claimed the statute violated the First Amendment.

Lizzo, Peck, and Leland’s recent performances send a message of love, acceptance, and unity in the face of adversity.

By showcasing the art of drag and the LGBTQIA+ community, they hope to foster understanding and challenge the hatred and fear that drives such legislation.

They believe that this message, combined with the unwavering support of allies, will help to create a more inclusive society where everyone can embrace their authentic selves.

The Power of Art and Community

The united stand of Lizzo, Peck, Leland, and the entire drag community demonstrates the power of art to transcend barriers and bring people together.

By celebrating the beauty and creativity of drag, these performers are not only advocating for their own rights but also shining a light on the diverse and vibrant LGBTQIA+ community.

Their performances and collaborations serve as a reminder that art has the power to heal, connect, and inspire change.

As more allies join the fight against anti-drag legislation and support marginalized communities, the hope is that such discriminatory laws will become a thing of the past.

With continued advocacy and artistic expression, the message of love, acceptance, and unity will continue to resonate and ultimately triumph over hate and fear.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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