Metro Weekly

‘Drag Isn’t Dangerous’ Telethon Broadcasts Worldwide on May 7

'Drag Isn't Dangerous' telethon co-host Justin Martindale has a message for anti-drag Republicans: Sashay away!

Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Justin Martindale -- Photo courtesy of PEG
Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Justin Martindale — Photo courtesy of PEG

“They always say drag saves lives. It really did for me,” says Justin Martindale.

“I grew up in Texas, and it was a very conservative and very, very Christian background. And I just remember dealing with issues of, ‘Oh God, am I gay?’ And just even doubting that, and literally laying in my bed and being like, ‘Don’t make me gay, please, God, don’t make me gay.’ And then the opportunity to go to a Miss Texas Pageant finals, and I actually saw Alyssa Edwards competing in Dallas. I just remember, like, ‘Okay, this is it. This is fun. This is what I want to be a part of.'”

Alas, Martindale didn’t become a daughter in the House of Edwards. He became a comedian, performing standup nationwide, including in the 2023 solo standup special Gay Bash on OUTtv, writing for shows like Hulu’s Huluween Dragstravaganza, and hosting his popular podcast Just Sayin’.

The six-foot-four funny man loves and respects the art of drag, but he’s never donned heels outside of dressing up for Halloween. Although, “God bless. I wish I could. I wish I could contour,” he says, praising the talents of professional queens. “So many of them are amazing. And it’s just such a crazy life, you know? They’re always on the go, always doing something and just trying to live.”

Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Alaska -- Photo: Albert Sanchez
Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Alaska — Photo: Albert Sanchez

Just trying to live, and currently under threat in states and municipalities around the U.S. from backwards legislation and hateful rhetoric bent on criminalizing drag. So the community has banded together to counter hate with joy and sequins with the Drag Isn’t Dangerous live telethon, produced by PEG, and broadcasting worldwide Sunday, May 7. The telethon will feature a bevy of stars so bright we’ll all need shades to watch.

Martindale, serving as the show’s head writer, also will co-host with drag superstar Peppermint, emceeing live and pre-taped performances, appearances, and testimonials from drag performers, LGBTQ entertainers and celebrity allies, as well as a live celebrity phone bank accepting donations.

The lineup includes, basically, all of your favorite Drag Race alums, plus celebs like Charlize Theron, Amy Schumer, The Boulet Brothers, Greyson Chance, Isaac Mizrahi, Leslie Jones, Loni Love, Margaret Cho, Ts Madison, David Cross, Marcia Gay Harden, Whitney Cummings, and Wilson Cruz.

Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Peppermint Chaise Lounge -- Photo: Robert Frashure
Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Peppermint Chaise Lounge — Photo: Robert Frashure

The high-profile support for the cause is heartening, despite the disheartening fact that in 2023 we’re having to debate whether drag deserves space in society.

“I have a lot of people telling me it’s kind of sad that we even have to have something like this,” says Martindale. “And I completely agree. At the same time, I love these moments in our society and in our community and our culture where we band together to say, ‘No, no, we’re not doing this.'”

The performers and organizers of Drag Isn’t Dangerous, none of whom are taking fees for their work on the campaign, are raising their voices while raising money for charities that support LGBTQ causes and drag performers in need.

Martindale says it’s easy for him to support the cause.

Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Eureka -- Photo: Bird Lambro
Drag Isn’t Dangerous: Eureka — Photo: Bird Lambro

“Drag and the art of drag, I just appreciate so much, because I feel like, as a comedian, what we do is drag — we just don’t put on wigs and heels — and make a lot of money doing it. But it’s the same thing. It’s just expression and freedom.”

The Drag Isn’t Dangerous fundraiser telethon goes live Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are $23.97, including service fee. For a ticket to join, visit

The Drag Isn’t Dangerous official pre-show donation page is at

For more information and updates, visit

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