LGBTIQAP+ Australians are dreading the worst as fellow queer Americans suffer harmful anti-drag legislation, affecting careers and the community’s culture.
Events such as “Drag Queen Story Hour” have particularly come under scrutiny, as opposers protest the alleged unsuitable nature of such entertainment in front of children.
Earlier this year, Governor of Tennessee Bill Lee signed legislation banning public adult cabaret performances in front of children, and from occurring within 1000 feet of schools, public parks, or places of worship.
The bill defines adult cabaret performances to be male or female impersonators.
This legislation has caused worldwide outrage, as it portrays drag queens as child predators instead of artists.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race Down Under contestant and local Brisbane entertainer Beverly Kills said the community is exhausted, and they do not feel safe anymore due to threats of physical assaults and protests outside queer venues.
“The new argument for these protests or attacks, planned or unplanned, are that drag artists are predators. This theory remains untrue and baseless,” she said.
Australian Christian Lobby acting CEO Wendy Francis said Australia would benefit from following in the USA’s footsteps by implementing this legislation.
“Their style of entertainment is not suitable for children. If adults want to watch other grown adults appropriate hypersexualized, caricatures of stereotypes, then that is up to them,” Francis said.
In 2020, a Drag Queen Story Time event held in the Brisbane Square Library was disrupted by the Liberal National Club of University of Queensland, which resulted in frightened and crying children.
The hosts of the event, Queeny and Diamond, were both Blue Card registered, which regulates activities that are appropriate for minors, and both have over five years’ experience with youth work and education.
Beverly Kills said drag opposers fear the unknown as people do not like what they lack understanding in.
“I genuinely believe I could change the minds of 90% of anti-drag people with a 30-minute conversation. I just don’t think people understand what drag is,” she said.
“All it takes is education and appreciation.”
Angela Aliaga is a second-year student at QUT, studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and a Bachelor of Business (Public Relations). Angela is a multi-faceted individual who enjoys spending her free time indulging in society and culture, sustainable fashion, and beauty. She deeply values the development and wellbeing of communities and is passionate about worldwide equity, social justice, and peace.