“RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Jinkx Monsoon doubled down on her denunciation of Republican-led legislative pressure to restrict drag performances in an interview that aired Friday on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour With Stephanie Ruhle.”
“What I want to say to the people who are trying to suppress my community right now is look what happened every time you tried to suppress a community in America,” Monsoon told Ruhle. “You tried to suppress women, women got the vote. You tried to suppress people of color, we will not accept that anymore.”
She added: “We don’t accept that some citizens should just sit on the outside and be the outliers of our society, because that’s not what this country was supposedly founded on.”
So far this year, lawmakers in at least 16 states have proposed legislation that would limit drag performance, according to an NBC News analysis. The majority of the bills would ban performances in front of minors and fines for repeat offenders of thousands of dollars. Some would ban the art form in public and send repeat offenders to prison.
This month, Tennessee became the first state to enact such legislation, banning “adult cabaret entertainment” on public land or in locations where it can be viewed by minors. Performers who break the law more than once can be charged with a felony and face up to six years in prison.
Proponents argue that these measures are necessary to protect children from exposure to inappropriate entertainment.
Critics like Monsoon say these bills unfairly target the art form because of its deep ties to the LGBTQ community.
Monsoon, who currently plays Matron “Mama” Morton on Broadway’s “Chicago,” won season five of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” She speculated that the recent spate of anti-drag legislation is a response to “fears” of shifting gender norms in America.
“We have been conditioned to believe that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to do things and there is a ‘natural’ and an ‘unnatural’ way to do things,” she said. “Imagine how irritating that would be if you followed the rules all your life and were told that those rules don’t actually exist.”
She added, “We should be told that whatever works for you is natural and normal and right.”
Monsoon, who identifies as non-binary and uses she/they pronouns when not in cross-dressing, also addressed a controversial speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month, where one speaker said, “Transgenderism should be completely out of public view. life be wiped out.” speaker’s comment wasn’t actually what scared her the most.
“What scares me more is the people who applauded for it,” she said.
When asked by Ruhle what her message is for LGBTQ people who are afraid in this current political environment, Monsoon advised them to move to parts of the country where they can “find their community”.
“There are places where it’s safe to be queer, or a transvestite or transgender at any age, and there are places in this country where it’s not,” Monsoon said. “I mean, they’re still debating whether we deserve to exist in certain parts of our country.”
“We need you with us to keep fighting for our freedoms and liberties and equalities,” she continued. “And if you must move to a more metropolitan area, do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe and find your community so you can live your life truthfully and unapologetically until the rest of the country catches up to you.”
Ruhle replied: “Ma’am, you don’t just exist – you shine.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com