Drag show entertainers protest to perform
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Drag Queens took to the streets of Memphis to fight for their right to perform and to let their critics know they will not back down or be intimidated.
Drag show entertainers, along with members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, staged a peaceful protest walking from one side of Midtown to the other on a very busy Friday night. Several things are on the protestors minds: frustration about last week’s family-friendly drag show getting canceled, concern for an upcoming drag show in Jackson, Tennessee, and worry that Governor Bill Lee is going to try and shut down the pediatric transgender clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
So they organized a march through Midtown, with heavy Memphis Police presence every step of the way.
They shouted, “No hate, no fear, drag performances are welcome here,” as the Drag March moved from the rainbow crosswalk in Overton Square to the rainbow crosswalk in Cooper-Young. It was a dazzling display of strength and a decisive show of solidarity.
“If you look across history,” drag entertainer Moth Moth Moth told Action News 5, “every couple of generations, we have to fight like this.”
“We’re not going to let the Proud Boys or anybody else scare us,” said march organizer Jenna Dunn, “We’re going to stand up for ourselves and for our community, for queer rights, for trans rights, for our trans youth.”
Last Friday, officials at MOSH, the Memphis Museum of Science and History, pulled the plug on the family-friendly drag show at the Pink Palace. The reason they gave: the Proud Boys, an extreme right-wing group founded in 2016, showed up to protest with guns visible on several members’ hips. “What happened last week at MOSH Museum was categorically terrorism, and you can’t scare us,” said Moth Moth Moth. Barbie Wyre, the organizer of the drag show, is still disappointed MOSH caved to the protestors and is more determined than ever to lean in and lift up the LGBTQ-plus family in Memphis.
“I feel like we’re stronger than that as a community, as people,” Wyre said, “We care about each other. We will protect each other. So that’s what this march is going to showcase today.” Memphis Police protected the marchers on their walk across town, officers and squad cars staged at every intersection on the route, blue lights clearly visible to other motorists. The finale was a rally outside First Congo Church and a promise from the dozens taking part – they will keep on fighting and performing.
“We are making sure that terrorist organizations understand that you cannot bully the queer community and tell us where we can express ourselves,” said march organizer Amaranthus Hyden, “We are not going to allow that, and we’re not going to allow them to feel like they’ve won.”
The Jackson Pride committee announced earlier in the week that the Jackson Pride Festival, including drag performances, will go on as scheduled but at a new location: the Carl Perkins Civic Center in downtown Jackson. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 8. You can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1258109168267263
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