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Renowned T.V. host, Wine enthusiast, and comedian Graham Norton has shared his perspective on the growing wave of anti-drag sentiment, suggesting that the “bulls**t” spouted by bigots may inadvertently have a positive outcome.

In a world where drag exists in two contrasting spheres, with RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars thriving in its eighth season, drag icons like Bob the Drag Queen touring with Madonna, and Jinkx Monsoon conquering Broadway and television, there is undeniably a shining showcase of queer success.

However, the flip side reveals an alarming rise in anti-drag rhetoric worldwide. Legislation seeking to ban drag performances has been introduced in various parts of the U.S., protests against drag queens have emerged in London, and clinical psychologists have raised concerns about the detrimental effects of this climate on the mental health of queer individuals.

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Currently hosting the second season of the drag singing competition Queen of the Universe alongside Trixie Mattel, Michelle Visage, Mel B, and Vanessa Williams, Graham Norton represents an example of drag queens being allowed to shine at their most vibrant and audacious.

Norton remains optimistic that this progress will not be easily dismantled.

In an interview with The Guardian, Norton suggested that there might be an unexpected upside to the targeting of drag artists.

“The absurdity of it is so extreme that I think those sections of the right-wing have overestimated people’s gullibility,” he expressed.

“People will realise, ‘Wait a minute. So everything you say is nonsense?’ Because clearly, drag queens pose no threat. It’s simply a form of entertainment. It predates us all.”

Norton also addressed the current hostility towards drag in Tennessee and empathised with the experience of drag performers in such an environment.

“It must be terrifying,” he acknowledged. “You’re already so vulnerable because you stand out. Which one is the drag queen? There are no dressing rooms in bars; they have to get ready at home.”

“They either walk to the bar or take an Uber. In New York, that’s fine, but there must be places now where it’s not such a comfortable thing to do.”

During the interview, Norton, who has served as a guest judge on all four seasons of Drag Race U.K., also commented on the evolution of drag within the context of the show.

“The success of Drag Race has made drag much more popular,” Norton explained. “But it has also raised the bar to an absurd level. Back in the day, when I worked in restaurants, we would go to gay bars where there would be a drag act at the end of the night, and I’m pretty sure most of them had just one dress, one wig.”

“They would stroll out, crack a few jokes, maybe sing a song, interact with the audience. And we loved it. That was good enough.”

“Now, they need costume reveals. They need to perform death drops. That stems from the American tradition of serving looks. U.K. drag is firmly rooted in comedy, right?”

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