Karine Jean-Pierre went to a D.C. gay bar with 8 queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars”

Karine Jean-Pierre
Photo: Shutterstock

Out White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went to a gay bar with eight drag queens on Monday. The queens visited Washington D.C. to promote the upcoming ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, which premieres on May 17.

At the Little Gay Pub, a bar in the district’s Logan Circle neighborhood, the group discussed the role drag activism plays in a political climate that opposes gender nonconformity. Some of the queens called drag an empowering form of visibility that can help combat close-mindedness, Advocate reported.

The queens — dressed in red, white, and blue — posed for promotional photographs at the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with the Washington Memorial obelisk in the background.

Later, they met Jean-Pierre at the Little Gay Pub and were welcomed by the bar’s co-owners: Dito Sevilla, Benjamin Gander, and Dusty Martinez. There, the secretary and queens discussed the role of drag in LGBTQ+ civic engagement during election season. Recently, Republicans have passed bans on drag, LGBTQ+ content in schools, and gender-affirming care for minors, claiming that all of them seek to “indoctrinate,” “sexualize,” and prey on vulnerable children.

“Drag forever has been kind of like the art form or the guardian that has kind of protected and raised its voice for our LGBTQ+ community,” All Stars Season 9 competitor Nina West told the aforementioned publication.

“When we’re here in the nation’s capital, when such conversations are happening within this country about drag bans and book bans and drag story hours, and kind of how people see us on the other side of the aisle, it’s empowering, and it’s impactful,” she added.

She said lesser-known drag performers in cities across America have faced threats from anti-LGBTQ+ forces — likely due to discomfort around drag’s unapologetic message of inclusivity and difference. But many queens continue performing nonetheless because “they believe intrinsically in their blood that it is required of them,” West said.

West’s co-competitor Shannel said that people unfamiliar with drag should consider having an open mind and perhaps viewing the queens as similar to Marvel comic book superheroes. “We get to be storytellers. We’re magicians. Our cape is our makeup and our wigs and our jewelry,” Shannel said.

Later in the evening, the queens joined an audience of 100 people to screen the Season 9 premiere of Drag Race All Stars at the Motion Picture Association near the White House. Out gay Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) attended the screening as well.

The new season of All Stars aims to encourage viewers to advocate for important community issues. The queens will compete to raise money for different charities, including Trans Lifeline, the Trevor Project, the National Black Justice Collective, the Asian American Foundation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and two organizations devoted to mental illness, anxiety, and depression.

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