Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand apparently partied with drag queens at a Des Moines, Iowa gay bar last night. The New York Daily News reports that the New York senator went to a bar called Blazing Saddles while visiting the Hawkeye State and joined drag performers in their dressing room.
Gillibrand tweeted images from her night, including the message, “Vana and the amazing queens at the Blazing Saddle in Des Moines invited me for a visit tonight before their show. I felt underdressed, so I brought a dress I picked up yesterday — turns out it fit me, but it fit Vana even better! Thank you for having me, ladies!”
Vana and the amazing queens at the Blazing Saddle in Des Moines invited me for a visit tonight before their show. I felt underdressed, so I brought a dress I picked up yesterday—turns out it fit me, but it fit Vana even better! Thank you for having me, ladies! pic.twitter.com/l0ISbENSwg
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 20, 2019
One commenter wrote in response, “You know times have changed when candidates for the
#Democratic nominee and U.S. Presidency are proud to share the stage at a #Drag venue with #Queens in #DESMOINES 🌈. Well done @SenGillibrand, well done.”
Originally an attorney, Gillibrand successfully ran for the U.S. House as an upstate New York Representative in 2006 and won a special election in 2010 to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat after Clinton resigned to become Obama’s Secretary of State in 2009. Gillibrand won re-election to the seat in 2012 and 2018.
As a representative, Gillibrand sponsored the unsuccessful Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) to protect LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination. As a Senator, she led efforts to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on openly LGB military service members.
Early in her career, she thought that same-sex marriage legalization should be left to individual states, but she later became one of the earliest senators to support marriage equality nationwide.
A November 2018 Vox.com story explained the rise of politically engaged drag queens. Though drag performers have long provided comfort and fundraising help to the LGBTQ community, social media and the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race have given performers a larger platform for sharing their political views.