Take your hate and shove it – #IStandWithQueens

#IStandWithQueens drag queens religious extremists
Image: The Stand/Facebook (FROOT!)

There’s currently a lot of vilification aimed at drag queens. Religious extremists sense an opportunity to advance their crusade against LGBTIQ people by demonising queens. But I/we… #IStandWithQueens.

Drag queens are not perfect.

But let’s not allow the delusion of religious extremists to define what’s acceptable. Extremists tell us with feigned humility that “we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

However, at the same time, they insist we can redeem ourselves by copying them in every way. Believe as they believe, worship as they worship, dress as they dress. Some of them would even insist everyone eat as they eat. And of course — they all demand — everyone fuck as they fuck… or not at all.

Religious extremists make a god in their own image and then brand anyone not a duplicate as a factory second and destined for the scrap heap.

Drag queens, on the other hand, are not perfect. They are people. Drag queens can be delusional, self-centred, rude, crude, prejudiced and vain… Just like people.

And they can also be magnificent.

#IStandWithQueens – Bushfire fundraisers

That magnificence went on display last Friday night at Brisbane’s Wickham Hotel. More than 40 local drag acts donated their talent to raise over $4,500 for bushfire relief. Another event at Fortitude Valley’s The Stand raised funds for First Nations bushfire relief. On Sunday, a London bar organised a twelve-hour drag marathon to raise money for the Aussie bushfires. Likewise, Melbourne’s Annie Depressant performed in a bushfire fundraiser a few days before protestors targeted her Werribee Library drag storytime event.

Solar Flair’s vid of Wickham Bushfire Relief Extravaganza

This isn’t a new thing.

Over and over again in the history of the LGBTIQ communities, drag queens proved our most formidable fundraisers.

#IStandWithQueens – the AIDS crisis

Here in Queensland, when the AIDS crisis hit, the Bjelke-Petersen government refused to pass on much needed federal funds to the Queensland AIDS Committee (QuAC). Simultaneously, our communities came under sustained attack from religious extremists bent of portraying AIDS as a plague sent by a vengeful God to punish sinners for their wicked ways.

However, in our community’s hour of need, drag performers donated their time to raise funds to assist the early victims of the epidemic. A handwritten flyer for one of the benefits from an early edition of QuAC’s Duck News, shows just how few resources our community enjoyed. Bill Rutkin, longtime president of QuAC told me the organisation couldn’t even afford a photocopier. They printed out the monthly newsletter on a second-hand Gestetner machine – the Flintstone version of a photocopier.

Flyer for AIDS benefit, 1980s

The arguments against drag queens

Religious extremists have seized the opportunity to attack drag queens to further the narrative that children are not safe around LGBTIQ people. It also helps to drive LGBTIQ people out of public space and deny them equal access to community facilities.

Drag Queens are strictly Adults Only

Over and over we hear that drag queens must remain hidden away in the dark of the night because some of them perform adult acts and say adult things for adult audiences and do adult things in their private lives.

Here is the news! It is not illegal for adults to perform adult acts and say adult things for adult audiences nor to do adult things in their private lives.

Some may find that not to their taste. Sorry — neither relevant nor against the law!

Australia’s future monarch and ‘Defender of the Faith’ once told the mistress with whom he had an adulterous relationship, he would like to be her tampon. Despite that, no one protests when he opens children’s hospitals or gives his patronage to children’s charities.

Because adults are allowed to be adults.

Speaking of adultery, some members of the LGBTIQ communities joining the pile-on on drag queens. Some posted anecdotes on social media about sexual promiscuity.

Of course, some drag queens are sexually promiscuous. Some are not. It’s irrelevant. Neither adultery nor promiscuity are a crime.

Our communities fought for marriage equality so that same-sex couples can enjoy equal access to marriage, not to make it compulsory.

#IStandWithQueens: the danger to children

Opponents of drag storytime constantly ask why drag queens would want to read books to children. The implication is that drag queens wish to molest the children. Even though, in Australia, drag queens must pass police checks and receive a Blue Card and undergo training before working with children.

These opponents of drag storytime betray their real agenda by not saying a word about the actually proven danger that has destroyed the lives of so many Australian children. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse proved beyond doubt what countless previous court cases already indicated.

The people who present the largest danger to children of any occupational group in Australia are persons in religious ministry, among the very people who always enjoyed privilege because of their faith, and now want more. We don’t for a moment suggest all person in religious ministry present a danger to children. However, some are, and the religious privilege they enjoy exacerbates the risk.

The answer is simple. Stop privileging some and discriminating against others. Hold a priest to account as you would a drag queen.

When everyone is equal before the law, everyone wins. #IStandWithQueens

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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