Jacob Ritts

Drag Isn’t Dangerous, the biggest fundraising effort to combat anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the US to date, raised more than $500,000 (£396,000) during a one-night-only telethon.

The livestream event, which took place on 7 May, was co-hosted by comedian Justin Martindale, director and choreographer Adam Shankman, as well as Drag Race stars Alaska 5000 and Peppermint.

It featured a mix of live and pre-taped performances, as well as appearances from some of the world’s most famous drag performers including Jinkx Monsoon, Trixie Mattel, Kelly Mantle, Kerri Colby and Laganja Estranja, among many others.

Allies such as Sarah Silverman, Melissa McCarthy and Charlie Theron were also in attendance, as well as a number of LGBTQ+ entertainers such as Margaret Cho, Drankie Grande and Lance Bass.

READ MORE: Drag is under attack – but these queens aren’t backing down anytime soon

“Drag brings hope, truth and laughter to a community that desperately needs it,” Cho said. “We need to fight for drag rights because we need to fight for gay rights. For our rights.”

All net proceeds from the event will be divided among approved charities (GLAAD, GLSEN, Headcount, Black Queer Town Hall, The ACLU Drag Defense Fund, Trans Justice Funding Project and Victory Fund ) that support LGBTQ+ causes and drag performers in need – especially in states where they face discrimination and bans.

Jacob Ritts

RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage also attended the telethon.

“I wish I could say that I am glad to be here, but I am appalled I have to be at something called ‘Drag Isn’t Dangerous’,” she shared. “Imagine a world where dancers are told they can’t dance; imagine a world where artists are told they cannot take paint to canvas…because it is ‘bad for children.’ That is what is happening to drag right now.”

READ MORE: “Show them why they’re wrong”: Drag Race star Carmen Carrera’s message to trans youth

There have been more than 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across 34 US states this year alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

More than a dozen have introduced bills seeking to restrict or ban drag, including Tennessee, Texas and Florida.

“We need to be telling the people who are not engaged”

In a recent interview with GAY TIMES, Drag Race legend BenDeLaCreme said it can feel “hard to focus and figure out what the hell is going on” given the overwhelming amount of legislation being introduced.

“We need to be telling the people who are not engaged and don’t see how it matters and are not connecting those dots, who are seeing the drag bans as something that’s not really a big deal because they still aren’t connecting the dots to why it is,” she said.

READ MORE: Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme on “terrifying” anti-drag bills: “We need to be angry”

“That’s what needs to be vocalised. We’re not going to change the minds of people who hate us. We’re not going to change the mind of people who already agree with us and we don’t need to, but we are potentially going to change the mind of all those people in between who just don’t see that it’s a big deal.”

You can read GAY TIMES’ full feature about Tennessee’s drag ban here and you can support the Drag Isn’t Dangerous fundraiser by clicking this link.