Sussex Pride reacts to drag show ban

March 17, 2023

I woke up last Friday to this: "Tennessee on Thursday became the first state to enact a law explicitly targeting drag shows, while also joining a growing list of GOP-led states to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. The drag show provision criminalizes performances that take place in public or where they could be seen by children." 

Before you say, “I’ve never been to a drag show,” just stop and think back to all of the TV shows from your youth where (primarily) men dressed as women for the sake of entertainment. It has been going on for thousands of years. From high art – think of the breeches role of Cherubino (traditionally played by a woman) in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” first performed in 1786 – to low – Curly as Señorita Cucaracha in the Three Stooges’ “Micro Phonies” (1945) – to everything in between.

I checked in with my friend Scott who performs as the dynamic Regina Cox at the Blue Moon and Goolee’s Grille in Rehoboth Beach. Here are his thoughts. “I went through a plethora of emotions. Sadness for my fellow performers who could lose their livelihoods. Sadness for the lawmakers who are making the laws without complete knowledge of the art form. Confusion. The lawmakers who are passing this legislation are claiming they are ‘protecting the children.’ What is the leading cause of death among children in the United States? Not drag queens. It is gun violence. Yet no legislation is being passed in this regard.”

When asked what we can do to support the drag community, Scott replied, “My mother taught me an extremely valuable life lesson ... when fear and knowledge collide, knowledge dissipates fear. Education! We as a nation/community/neighborhood must come together as one and continue to spread knowledge. Engage in conversations (even with those who disagree with us) and educate others. Politically, we should reach out to our elected officials and express our concerns about these divisive laws.”

Now I want you, the reader, to stop and think, “Why now?” Also ask yourself, “What are they trying to keep me from focusing on by dangling this sparkling-fabulously-entertaining-100%-harmless bauble?” Focus, please. Because if drag shows are what get you running to your bomb shelter, then, honey, you are in for quite the wake-up call.

Glenn Lash
Sussex Pride


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