Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela – Photo: GLAAD
Drag performers from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. have posted a video urging LGBTQ voters and their allies to vote in this year’s election.
The video, “We’re Here. We’re Queer. #WeVote,” premiered on national LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube pages on Thursday, as well as on.
Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka O’Hara, the hosts and consulting producers of HBO’s Emmy-nominated We’re Here, star alongside 51 queens representing the various jurisdictions that will cast votes in the presidential election.
The video is based on the virtual roll call that took place during the 2020 Democratic National Convention, where a representative from each state cast votes for a candidate from a location in their home state. It aims to reach LGBTQ voters, and allies, and convince them to vote in this year’s presidential election, with each performer making a unique appeal to vote.
“A staggering 100 million people didn’t vote in the last election. And look what happened,” says Maine representative Cherry Lemonade.
“I’m voting, because my rights aren’t the only ones I care about,” says California representative Landon Cider.
“Too many of my trans sisters are being murdered across this country,” adds Georgia’s Celeste Holmes.
“s queer people watching this, your vote matters, too. We need to elect people that are going to be looking out for us,” says Massachusetts’ Laila McQueen. “Please get out there and vote.”
“Each of us are just one person,” says Bob the Drag Queen.
“But together, we’re the United States of America,” adds Eureka O’Hara.
The video points viewers to GLAAD’s Voting Action Center, where people can check their registration, request mail-in ballots, or become a “digital door knocker” to spread the word about voting to other LGBTQ people.
“This first-of-its-kind drag roll call features beautifully diverse LGBTQ talent from each and every state and we hope it especially inspires the millions of LGTBQ voters outside of major cities to use their voices and vote,” Rich Ferraro, GLAA’s chief communications officer, said in a statement. “The LGBTQ community and our allies in states across the South and heartland will be the deciding votes of this election. If our community and our allies bring our power to the polls, we will see a landslide of equality at a critically important time in our community’s, and our nation’s, history.”
Participants in the “We’re Here, We’re Queer, #WeVote” video – Photo: GLAAD
Exit poll data from the 2018 midterm election estimated that 6% of the electorate was LGBTQ, and of that group, 82% supported pro-equality candidates.
A recent poll commissioned by GLAAD showed 88% of LGBTQ Americans are registered to vote, and 81% of LGBTQ voters who are “likely” to cast ballots this year are more motivated to vote in 2020 than recent election cycles. While a small percentage of the overall vote, such overwhelming margins for pro-equality candidates could provide them a boost in tighter races.
Vagenesis, representing the District of Columbia, says she was flattered to be asked by producers to participate, especially given that Washington, D.C. and its residents, who are citizens and pay federal taxes, are often overlooked when it comes to elections and the political ramifications of certain policies.
“The goal was to get out the LGBTQ+ vote this year. The vote for us always matters, but it definitely very much matters for us this year,” Vagenesis says. “It’s a direct appeal, like, ‘Hey, our community needs to get out and vote. And if these big names are doing it, so can you.'”
Vagenesis says she’s never been shy about voicing her opinion or standing up for those who are under-served or marginalized, and appreciates that the producers wanted to include her in the project.
“I’m not your typical kind of drag queen. Outside of being plus size and black, I’m also bearded. So I offer something different,” she says. “And I think that’s a big part of what represents D.C. There’s a lot of different cultures and backgrounds here. What better way to have somebody represent the city than to have a new drag queen, or drag performer, of any kind of gender alignment?”
Vagenesis – Photo: Instagram.
Asked about the importance of this year’s election and the various appeals being made to apathetic or undecided voters, Vagenesis rejects the idea that some elections are worth skipping.
“Every election is important. We need to always speak up and say something about the way we want our country to be led,” she says. “We’re very privileged to live somewhere where we have that option…. I think this time it could be argued that this is the most important election, because we’ve never been in a society under a president like we are right now, where everything is so readily available in the media, every action is immediately publicized, and the actions of our sitting president have been so alarming to so many for one reason or another. And we’ve seen a kind of magnifying glass on issues of racism and sexism and homophobia, transphobia, issues of importance of international diplomacy and immigration issues.
“There’s much more at risk than has been in recent years,” she continues. “So many people are really afraid of what the future holds for us, because we don’t know what all of a sudden is going to be voted on. The number of times that same sex marriage has come up, when we thought that right was secured, that’s a scary prospect. So in order for us to not have another four years of the same kind of fear, which then also sets up an even longer period of danger for anybody who is not a cis white person in America, it’s so important for us to get out and stand up, to be able to make a change. And of course that change isn’t going to happen immediately, or even with next four years. It’s going to take a long time. But the first step is to get out and make that change.”
Asked about those who say that the risk to the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups is being overstated, particularly when it comes to the Trump administration’s record, Vagenesis has a response.
“I would say, ‘Good for you for living a life where the worries that you have are not the same worries somebody like me has.’ That is not sarcasm. I genuinely mean: that’s that’s very fortunate for you. I hope that one day I can also live a life like that,” she says. “But the fact of the matter is, the problems that people like me face every day are real. The problems that trans people face, the problems that lower-income people face, the problems that undocumented immigrants face in this country are real.
“If we were to just look at just the LGBTQ+ community, just because you aren’t feeling ostracized or having or facing issues of discrimination does not mean that your brothers and sisters in the community are not running into those issues,” Vagenesis adds. “And then, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend that they’re right. Maybe maybe we are ‘playing victim.’ Maybe we’re just crying about nothing, and things are fine the way they are. Why wouldn’t you vote to better things, in the case that you’re wrong? “Good enough” for you doesn’t feel like the right answer to me. You want to be able to do the best for for as many people as possible.”
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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com
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