January 29, 2023

Some of America’s best-known drag queens are taking extra security measures like armed guards and metal detectors at shows after last month’s mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado, according to a report.

Yvie Oddly, the season 11 winner of reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race and a native of Colorado, told NBC News her management company told her this week that she’s asked for more security personnel to guard her shows and audiences check for firearms

“It’s unfortunate that the world has come this far, but your safety and that of the communities you visit is a priority,” the company told her in an email.

Jinkx Monsoon, a two-time drag race winner, said she’s had armed security personnel to guard her since the Club Q massacre in Colorado Springs, which was hosting a drag divas night, when a gunman burst in.

The death toll of five could have been higher had not two well-wishers brought the suspect down while others helped overpower him or tended to seriously wounded friends. The attack led to new calls for more gun safety in the United States.

“We’re trying to smile and make people happy for the holidays, and in the back of our minds we’re like, ‘I hope I don’t get shot,'” Monsoon told NBC.

She was already stepping up security ahead of this latest massacre, which came six years after one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history: the killing of 49 people at Pulse LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

NBC spoke to some of the most well-known drag queens in the US, who explained that escalating attacks on the drag scene through physical assaults, political rhetoric and laws enacted by celebrity figures had dampened their bubbly stage personas.

As Congress, with bipartisan support, prepares to pass legislation codifying same-sex marriages in the United States, earlier this week the Department of Homeland Security warned in a terrorism advisory bulletin that targets of potential violence are “the “LGBTQI+ community.” An art form for centuries, but became more popular after transgender people and drag queens played a central role in the Stonewall Uprising and the New York City riots that launched the modern gay rights movement in America.

‘We Must Keep Fighting and Screaming’: New York Drag Queens on Stonewall Legacy – video

Latrice Royale, who has been doing drag for three decades, said that the explosion in popularity of drag through TV competition shows, with RuPaul’s show inspiring spin-offs in 16 other countries, has made the culture a target.

“Before, before drag was so mainstream and on every TV channel and all media and during the day, we were underground,” Royale, 50, told NBC.

Now, drag brunches and storytelling lessons in libraries are popular — but also under fire.

Drag queen Alaska said she has tightened security around her shows and that police cruisers are stationed nearby to keep an eye out for trouble.

“It’s a shame that for something as happy and celebratory as a drag show, we have to even think about these things. Why do we have to worry about where the exits are and where is a sure way to safety? It’s scary, but that’s the reality,” she told NBC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *