Queer Activists Will Rally in SF to ‘Fight Back’ Against Anti-Drag Laws

San Francisco’s City Hall will erupt in queer solidarity on Saturday, April 8th, as part of the “Drag Up! Fight Back!” rally to denounce the recent deluge of anti-drag and anti-trans ordinances.

Anti-drag and anti-trans bills (and laws) have been formally introduced in over a dozen states this year, thus far. Most recently, Tennessee passed a bill into law that would see public displays of drag criminalized. But the bill, itself, is far more insidious, shrouded in vague language — a point renowned entertainer BenDeLaCreme so eloquently pointed out during her guest appearance on The Daily Show.

In Tennessee’s bill, “adult cabaret” is defined as “adult-oriented performances” that include “male or female impersonators”; this leaves interpretation open to having a door open to criminalizing trans individuals for presenting as their most authentic gender.

A law of this kind is a first in the nation and sets a dangerous precedent for what very well could come. The reasoning for it? A complete and utter misstep in the name of protecting children.

Never mind that grooming is statistically far more common in organized religious groups. Never mind that the leading cause of death for children in this country is gun violence. Never mind that rising rates of teenage suicide have a direct correlation to bullying and silencing around gender and sexual orientation.

It’s all maddening. It’s also the catalyst for why the SF Bay Area will see a queer rally this weekend to “fight back” against the “anti-drag hysteria” that’s building by the day.

“The anti-trans and anti-drag hysteria that is being whipped up around the country in the name of ‘protecting’ children are heating up to a fever pitch, and the San Francisco Bay Area drag and trans communities are saying ‘Enough,’” reads a press release for the activist-organized DRAG UP! STRIKE BACK rally that’s set to begin on Saturday, April 8th, at 11 a.m. and conclude later in the afternoon.

The march and rally will “bring together drag performers, transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people, and all allies in protest of these flagrant attacks on our civil rights.”

Online outrage and advocacy represent merely one branch of advocacy work; showing up in our real lives to denounce exclusionary behavior is another; this act of protest is an example of the latter.

“[The rally] is a call to action for everyone to speak out against the dangerous scapegoating and disinformation that is being spread by extremists, and to unite in fighting against the unconstitutional legislation of hate,” the release continues.

As mentioned before, the rally is set to start at 11 a.m. on the steps of San Francisco City Hall ( Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,) where attendees will then march in tandem with organizers — like Juanita MORE!, Sister Roma, Honey Mahogany, and others — to Union Square. Once there, performances, readings by members of Drag Story Hour, and “surprise guests” will be held.

With the recent passing of Heklina, we’d imagine there will also be some sort of yet-announced remembrance of her life and legacy.

Feature image: Courtesy of Photos By Gooch

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