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RuPaul has spoken out against recent anti-drag legislation in the United States. Taking to social media, RuPaul criticised right-wing politicians attempting to distract voters from real issues by sparking public hysteria over the “dangers” of young people being exposed to drag performers and shows.

Last month, legislators in Montana and Tennessee passed bills banning anyone under 18 from attending drag shows, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed his state’s bill into law soon after. On Monday, Tennessee lawmakers continued their attack on the LGBTIQ+ community by passing a second bill requiring drag artists to obtain a permit before being allowed to perform.

In his video, RuPaul accused these politicians of being incompetent at solving real issues and looking for easy targets to give the impression of being effective. He also urged supporters to register and vote to get these politicians out of office and put some “smart people with real solutions” into government.

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These anti-drag bills are part of a broader trend of anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation being passed across the US. Lawmakers in Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Tennessee, and other states have passed or are advancing more than 400 anti-LGBTIQ+ bills.

These include legislation to limit the rights of transgender people, banning LGBTIQ+ representation in schools, and allowing state officials to refuse services to LGBTIQ+ people based on their religious beliefs.

The Human Rights Campaign has identified a “coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups” behind this wave of bills, which use “vintage discriminatory tropes”. In response to this legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created a Drag Defence Fund to support drag artists and their First Amendment right to express themselves in creative ways.

“The freedom to express ourselves and our gender identity in creative ways fuels artistry across our country and culture,” said the ACLU on its website, “and drag is protected by the First Amendment like any creative expression such as dance, fashion, and music.”

RuPaul’s video ends with a call to action: “Drag queens are the Marines of the queer movement. Don’t get it twisted, and don’t be distracted. Register and vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government.”

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