‘American Dad!’ character declared a drag icon in campaign benefitting The Trevor Project

American Dad's Roger's new drag persona.
American Dad's Roger's new drag persona. Photo: Screenshot/TBS

TBS’s animated sitcom American Dad! has declared one of its characters a “drag icon” in a campaign benefitting The Trevor Project.

Earlier this week, the show aired its 350th episode, and to celebrate the network launched a social media campaign spotlighting American Dad’s resident gender-bending, pansexual alien, Roger. An agent of chaos known for sporting outlandish disguises with personae to match, the character frequently dresses in campy drag to carry out his hair-brained schemes.

In a video launching the new campaign, RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Trixie Mattel and Trinity the Tuck official dubbed the character, who has previously been voted “The Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time,” a “drag icon.”

Ahead of the 350th episode, TBS held an online contest in which fans could vote on Roger’s next persona. The winner, Gelatiné Lycheé, will appear in an episode in American Dad’s upcoming 21st season. The character is described as a “Drag queen with a popular podcast about breakfast and blowjobs.”

“Roger has been in drag too many times to count. The mark of a true queen, she has glammed herself in and out of trouble, all while setting trends and stealing mens,” Mattel said in the spot, unveiling, the character’s new drag persona. “The face? Stamped. The looks? Stunning.”

As part of the campaign, TBS is donating $1 to the Trevor Project every time users quote-tweet the video with the hashtag #AmericanDrag up to $20,000 until May 12. The nonprofit organization focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ young people.

“We are so grateful to TBS for their partnership as we continue to build community and more affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ young people,” a spokesperson for the Trevor Project said.

The campaign is an interesting return to the political sphere for the show, which began as a satire of Bush-era, post-9/11 conservatism when it premiered on Fox in 2005. Over its 20 seasons, however, it has evolved into more of an absurdist comedy, abandoning much of its original political commentary during the Obama and Trump administrations.

This new drag-centric campaign, of course, comes at a time when the art form is under increasing attack by right wing hate groups and anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. Fueled by online misinformation, Republican lawmakers in state legislatures across the country are pushing laws aimed at banning drag performances, banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, and restricting how LGBTQ+ topics can be discussed in schools. Critics insist that such laws, particularly those banning gender-affirming care, could have devastating effects on LGBTQ+ young people’s mental health. CDC research has shown that increased rates of violence and mental distress among LGBTQ+ teens result from “minority stress” caused by social stigma.

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