On Wednesday, Queen of Drag RuPaul stepped in front of an American flag and into the arena, nearly a week after Tennessee instituted a near total ban on drag performance.
“They think our love, our light, our laughter and our joy are signs of weakness,” the Rupaul’s Drag Race creator said in a one-minute video posted to Instagram. “They’re wrong, because that is our strength. Drag queens are the Marines of the queer movement.”
While Ru doesn’t name who “they” are, she does urge her followers to mobilize, and fight them at the ballot box.
“Register to vote so we can get the stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government,” RuPaul said in the Get Out the Vote-style message.
A call to arms for drag queen Marines — or even a call to protest — it was not.
“They were voted into office to focus on jobs, health care, keeping our children safe from harm at their own school,” RuPaul claimed to her 4.4 million followers. “But we know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues. They look for easy targets so they can give the impression of being effective.”
Also left unsaid was “what” they’re doing.
They’re “distracting us away from the real issues that they were voted into office to focus on,” said RuPaul in the 140-word statement.
That’s as detailed as she got.
It’s just the second time Ru has spoken out about the wave of attacks endured by the drag and trans communities over the last year at bars and clubs, story time hours and in state legislatures.
“It’s such a tragedy how our country has become so divided, and it really breaks my heart,” RuPaul told Today Show hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager in December. “I pray for our country, and the world really, and I still believe in the power of love.”
In addition to her Drag Race duties, RuPaul also hosts the game show Lingo on CBS, another Viacom-produced show aimed at mainstream audiences.
Calls for RuPaul to speak out about Tennessee’s drag ban started immediately after Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the legislation into law last Thursday. The act outlaws “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” from appearing “on public property” or “in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”
In an Instagram post from February promoting her upcoming appearance at DragCon, followers were looking for words from “Mother.”
One commenter wrote, “Where is the action? Queen of Drag? Help your subjects. Organize. Rally. Help.”
“I echo everyone’s plea,” posted another. “The White House has spoken, our allies have spoken, you’re one of the few ones who’s been silent on the matter.”
“Time to speak up Ru! Where are you in all this insanity going on right now?” asked a third person.
While the comments on her latest post were full of hearts and fire, a few fans urged RuPaul, 62, to do more.
“Please put your money behind these words,” one person commented. “Funds to help fight legislation make all the difference.”
“I wanna see you say this in drag at the senate,” someone else posted. “Use those resources to protect the local queens you profit off of.”
“Finally. Thank you!” said another. “Now push your corporate ties to pressure the government too Ru!!”
RuPaul’s message comes in the wake of rumors that the Drag Race host is on the way out of her iconic competition. Fans may be casting for a new face on the show, and a leader fit for those drag queen Marines.