Metro Weekly

Jinkx Monsoon Responds to Attempts to Ban Drag

The two-time winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race" argues that not all drag is sexual or performed in front of children.

Jinkx Monsoon – Photo: Twitter

Jinkx Monsoon, a world-renowned drag queen and two-time winner of the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, is calling attempts by Republican-led legislatures to ban drag shows in public places or classify them as adult entertainment “hypocritical.”

In an interview with ABC News last week, Monsoon criticized attempts to restrict drag performances — either by prohibiting them in public or requiring venues hosting such performances to classify themselves as “adult-oriented businesses,” with the aim of either discouraging venues from allowing drag shows or forcing them to operate under the radar and out of sight of the public.

Asked about assertions made by social conservatives that exposure to drag contributes to the sexualization or “grooming” of children, Monsoon called politicians’ attempt to roll back a form of expression “hypocritical to say the least.”

“There’s so many things that I think are much more unsavory for children to be witnessing,” Monsoon said. “But because they’re heteronormative, or because they’re adhering to gender norms, they get overlooked.”

“Right now, we’re looking at drag and how it affects children, as though all drag takes place in front of children,” she continued. “We’re adult human beings capable of knowing what not to put in front of children. We make drag appropriate for kids, if kids are going to be there. And if kids shouldn’t be there, we make it known as well.”

Monsoon called it “asinine” to demonize drag performers when many of its opponents know so little about drag performances or have a warped view of what they entail.

Asked about her “battle-back” plan to push back against proposed bans, Monsoon said that performing and entertaining folks — whether in a drag show, or in the musical Chicago, currently on Broadway in New York, in which she plays Mama Morton — is the “best antidote” to hatred being directed at drag queens and the LGBTQ community in general.

“I create art, which talks about [the hatred],” Monsoon said. “I get on stage and perform to show that what I love to do, is just get on stage and entertain folks. It’s nothing different from any other artists, I just happen to do it in drag, a little bit more fabulously than some artists.

“I’m just showing the world, ‘Look, I’m just a human being with talents who likes to be on stage doing this,'” she continued, resuming her composure after accidentally slipping off her chair. “I just happen to do it dressed as a woman, in a very slippery satin dress.”

Monsoon previously criticized Tennessee’s ban on drag — the first law of its kind to be signed into effect — on the day it was enacted, tweeting, “Ours is a revolution of love, empathy, and truth — you can’t ban those things. We will fight this battle the way our predecessors did: with grace, compassion, and throwing a brick if we have to.”

Monsoon also talked about how she’s had to beef up security for her shows as part of her Everything at Stake tour due to the increasing number of threats or in-person protests that drag-related events have drawn in recent years. 

“I think the responsibility of the performer is the audience, the comfort and safety of the audience,” she said. “We’re implementing more safety protocol than we normally would for a tour because we want to keep the audience safe.

“There are people filled with a lot of hate, who have been conditioned by people like the conservative right [wing], who prey upon this hatred and this fear, and use it to manipulate our minds. This is not new to us, but, right now, if we’re going to 44 cities… we want to make sure our audience is safe every step of the way.”

Monsoon said she did have concerns about the upcoming 2024 presidential race and the insistence by some to use drag as a “wedge” issue.

“We’re at this point in history where we’re just asking for fair and equal treatment…. This isn’t a question of conservative versus liberal views, it’s a question between right and wrong,” she said. “We’re human beings, we’re citizens of this country, we deserve to be treated with the same dignity, respect, and liberty as every other citizen of our wonderful country.”

Monsoon is not the only drag performer who has spoken out against laws restricting drag performances. BenDeLaCreme, with whom Monsoon frequently tours and collaborates on special shows, has condemned anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced in various legislatures in public appearances.

Even RuPaul, whose Drag Race franchise gave Monsoon national exposure and allowed her career to take off, condemned anti-drag and anti-LGBTQ laws in an Instagram video earlier this month, accusing those pushing for drag bans of seeking to distract from politicians’ failure to deliver on other issues.

“We know that bullies are incompetent at solving real issues. They look for easy targets so they can give the impression of being effective,” RuPaul said, imploring people to register to vote in order to “get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government.”

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