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WATCH: MAREN MORRIS, HAYLEY WILLIAMS, AMANDA SHIRES, FANCY HAGOOD, HOZIER AND MORE SHARE SUPPORT FOR DRAG QUEENS, LGBTQ RIGHTS AT LGBTQ BENEFIT CONCERT IN TENNESSEE
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
Nashville, TN, April 4, 2023 – Today, GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is sharing video messages of support from celebrities in attendance at the recent Love Rising LGBTQ benefit concert in Nashville, TN. Love Rising, “a celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” was a fundraiser for Tennessee Equality Project, Inclusion Tennessee, Out Memphis, and the Tennessee Pride Chamber in partnership with Looking Out Foundation. The special concert took place at the Bridgestone Arena, in the wake of Tennessee legislation that is targeting the rights of gay and trans people generally and drag performers specifically.
GLAAD joined performers and recording artists backstage to amplify their takes on the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation including the passage of a ban on drag performers in the state, and beyond.
To learn more about taking action in support of the LGBTQ community and drag performers, visit glaad.org/actnow
See below for a complete list of quotes from Maren Morris, Hayley Williams, Hozier, Brittany Howard, Fancy Hagood, Autumn Nicholas, Wrabel, Amanda Shires, Joy Oladokun and Izzy Heltai:
“I think [anti-LGBTQ legislators] know that we’ve already won, and that is why they are being so negative and harmful … Because they know that they have lost in the court of public opinion, in the court of love.”
“I think we just have to be loud. Keep getting even better with our arts. That goes for movies, music, culture, any part of it. We are the makers here and I think that’s why they’re so afraid.”
“Go support your local drag artists, because they need us right now.”
“Since I was a little girl, [the drag] community has always inspired me, before I even really knew what it was. I think that it’s just such a shame to make people feel unwelcome in a place that has birthed so much creativity in this town. And it’s also a shame because I know that Tennessee is better than this, and I I love living here but I also really sympathize with my gay friends right now that are leaving in droves.”
“I can’t imagine being a person who spends their time thinking about how to limit anyone. I don’t understand that mindset. So from my vantage point, it’s very frustrating because, I can’t, I don’t, I wouldn’t.
“I can’t thank our queer fans enough for showing up for us, and I hope that we make you feel seen, heard, included. Because truly, I don’t feel that the music scene, much less the world, would be what it is without your creativity and your bravery and your tenacity. “
“I’ve been to drag brunches. We’ve had drag performers at the Good Dye Young events in town, and it’s so joyful and it’s really good art. It’s a great art form and it’s empowering.”
“My heart swells and it breaks for this community and you know, it’s art, and I think that it’s a really beautiful art form.”
“It’s really important for anybody with a conscience, anybody who wants to live in a free society, or believes in the spirit of democracy, to just stand up and show support and solidarity and that’s what I’m here to do.”
“I’m here in solidarity. I have been the beneficiary of so much support from the queer community, from the LGBTQ+ community. And I really see that, I really feel that.”
“When we hold space for one another, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you are. You’re holding love. And that’s what I think. Whether we’re in Tennessee or anywhere I go, I try to make sure my music is a representation of [the LGBTQ community]. I wouldn’t be standing if it wasn’t for everyone.”
“I didn’t have life affirming people in my life, talking about queer kids, or queer youth being okay. And I just think about how different my life could have been had I had that. “
“I grew up with a very Christian family that didn’t understand, you know, my sexuality when I came out. But they met me where I was at, and now we’re as close as we’ve ever been.”
“My fans are predominantly queer. So it’s really cool, because I live in Nashville [and] I’m making music on Music Row. And I think it’s not a place that’s historically been kind to queer artists. And I think because of my fan base, and people who are listening to my art and other artists like me, it’s together, we’re all carving out this lane for us to exist in this space that historically hasn’t been welcoming to us.”
“I love drag with everything in my whole entire being. I go to drag shows I can remember as early as 18 years old going to play here in Nashville, and watching some of my favorite drag performers.”
“Some of my closest friends are drag queens. In my latest single release, we did a drag show celebrating queer art, celebrating drag queens, and it’s just a big part of my life.”
“I think I constantly just try to remind people that they’re not alone, because I know how, and so many of us know, how lonely it can feel. You’re not alone. When I play a show and I look out in the crowd and I see all these beautiful queer people, I often cry on the stage … But just be yourselves. That I think is our superpower. That we are ourselves and simply by doing that, I’ve been so inspired by someone to my left and to my right, that are just being themselves. There’s no megaphone. There’s nothing. You’re just yourself and I’m looking at you like ‘oh my gosh, I could just be myself,” and so I appreciate that.
“I want to say a lot of curse words to the people that want to limit everything. But I think what I truly would like to say is ‘maybe spend some quiet time thinking about people, thinking about those who you love, thinking about anybody, let yourself just think about somebody else.’ Have compassion, lead with love.”
“I’m 5’3” but I’m on your side and I’ll do anything to help.”
“I know that drag has saved people. Drag has been able to get people to be who they really are and know that it’s okay. And that there’s families around drag. And drag is beautiful.”
“In this community, people are saying’ shine who you are, love each other, more love, more compassion, more understanding.’ So I really just spend all of my time over here being showered with love, as well as giving out there love.”
“I think about what I was like as a teen, knowing that I was a queer kid growing up in a small town, and what it was like to see people in different positions, in positions of power saying ‘it is okay to be yourself and to love the way that you love and express your identity the way that you express it.’ I think it just creates a path where future generations feel safe, and even this current generation, and generations before us feel the permission to say, ‘this is who I am and that is okay.’”
“I love drag! You know, every season of RuPaul I’m invested.. I’m having drag at my birthday party this year. I think it’s a beautiful art form. I think that it is fun and freeing.”
“I think anybody that’s public with hatred isn’t really interested in protecting kids. But again, it’s about the art form and the comedy and the beauty that drag is and can offer to this planet, and can offer to a kid that you might not know is queer – for them to say, ‘oh, there’s a path for me up there.’ I think it’s really powerful.”
“It’s important to show people we exist. The worst thing we can do is stay silent because then they win, because then they erase us, and that’s just not what I’m going to let happen.”
“In terms of this drag ban … historically, bans like this are passed not just to diminish queer expression, but really … it’s making being trans illegal in public. Because a lot of these laws are historically tied to just basically putting trans women in jail. So I think that’s the bigger issue with these bills.”
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
For GLAAD Media Institute Alum Kevin Anderson, interviews with journalists have become increasingly prevalent in…