RuPaul Raises More Than $2 Million For The Drag Defense Fund

RuPaul Raises More Than $2 Million For The Drag Defense Fund

RuPaul has raised more than two million dollars (USD) for the Drag Defense Fund, an initiative co-created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

RuPaul has been outspoken about the influx of hatred and political attacks on drag. So, to fight back, the drag superstar started the initiative in April of 2023, and it has since helped to defend and defeat multiple drag ban laws, ordinances and proposals all across the US.

Variety reports that since the creation of the Fund in 2023, RuPaul – with the help of the ACLU, Drag Race‘s production company World of Wonder, and MTV – has now surpassed USD $2 million (approximately AUD $3,026,000) in fundraising.

RuPaul used her widely beloved and indescribably popular drag reality series, RuPaul’s Drag Race (and its iteration, RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars) to help raise money. At the end of Drag Race episodes a QR code appears, encouraging viewers to use the barcode to donate to the Drag Defense Fund.

Drag has a long history in the queer community as not only a source of joy and creativity but as a source of power,” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ and HIV Project, said in a statement about the fund’s milestone.

“Thanks to the hard work and promotion of MTV, World of Wonder, and the queens of Drag Race, the Drag Defense Fund continues to fuel our work defending LGBTQ rights across the country at a time when those rights are under relentless attack.

“We’re so thankful for this partnership and the support it provides our critical work defending LGBTQ people, our rights, and our families.”

Drag Defense Fund & ACLU’s work protecting drag

The ACLU has done important work in protecting drag events and artists. Late last year, Blount County District Attorney Ryan Desmond in Tennessee threatened to shut down a scheduled Blount County Pride event that featured drag performances – despite a federal ruling being handed down that Tennessee’s ban on drag was unconstitutional.

ACLU, along with the event organisers and the drag headliner Flamy Grant (real name Matthew Lovegood), filed a suit against Desmond. U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer agreed, and even issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Desmond from interfering or attempting to stop or wreck the event in person.

America’s ongoing war on drag

In the last handful of years, drag has been under relentless attack by far-right pundits, conservative state and local governments, and more.

In the last year since the Drag Defense Fund was created, over 500 bills have been put forward all across America to diminish LGBTQI+ rights – including blanket bans or limiting rules on drag performances.

This has occurred in a variety of different places across the continental US, but particularly draconian laws and proposals have been introduced in firmly red states such as Tennessee and Kentucky.

Anti-drag sentiments have reached Australia, too

But Australia is not immune to the anti-drag sentiments sweeping the world.

In the last couple of years, there has been various incidents in Australia similar to the anti-drag attacks in the US.

Some of the include (but are far from limited to) drag performers being on the receiving end of alt-right attacks in Melbourne, a conservative ‘mummy blogger’ attacking a Sydney drag queen for reading to children, and online hate even forced the ABC to cancel a family-friendly ‘drag story time’ event earlier this year.

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