Metro Weekly

Police Threatened Hayley Kiyoko Over Drag Queens

At a recent concert, police told Hayley Kiyoko she couldn't have drag queens on stage.

Hayley Kiyoko (credit Grace Scuitto/
Hayley Kiyoko (credit Grace Scuitto/

Singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko is currently on her The Panorama Tour, and as her way of adding a little something special to each show, she has been bringing stunning drag queens out on stage with her.

In a scary and truly scary turn of events, she faced a roadblock at a recent concert in Nashville, Tennessee when she was threatened with legal action due to the involvement of the queens.

Kiyoko took to Instagram to express her feelings before going on stage, and she shared an emotional post about being told that she wasn’t allowed to have the drag queens at her show.

“I am getting ready for my show tonight and was really excited to bring out some incredible drag performances,” the “Girls Like Girls” singer said. Shortly before the event, a police officer informed her that she was banned from bringing the drag queens on stage because her concert was all-ages.

Despite the legal threat, Kiyoko went ahead with her original plan.

In the caption of her Instagram video, she explained that the two drag queens who were joining her on that stop of the tour – who go by the names Lady LiberTea and Ivy St. James – arrived shortly before the show was set to start.

When they got to the venue, Kiyoko explained to them what had happened and the potential legal issues surrounding their future performance. But the performers were determined and would not be deterred, and they gave it their best for the crowd anyway.

Tennessee recently enacted a legal ban on drag performances, prohibiting “adult cabaret performances” – AKA drag shows – from taking place anywhere where they could be seen by a minor.

Thankfully, shortly after that law was signed, it was temporarily blocked by a federal judge just days before it was set to be enacted. That likely means that Kiyoko wasn’t breaking the law at all, and therefore, the police officer likely shouldn’t have stopped her.

Kiyoko was disappointed and frustrated by the situation, as she expressed in her Instagram post. “I never want to put anyone in a position to be at risk or in danger in any way,” she continued, “But also, where is the line of being silenced? How do we navigate these absurd threats and laws against our community?”

She also pointed out the importance of making sure her concerts are safe places for all. “We deserve to have a safe space to be ourselves while we navigate the evil that is threatening our own existence,” she added.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!