To Be Heard and To Be Seen: UK Drag Queens Fight Back Against Trump

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Drag queens et al in solidarity

To help ease us into another week of our national debacle comes news of a wide-ranging "carnival of resistance" in the works by UK groups mobilizing against Trump's much-delayed, just-one-day-to-try-and-fend-off-the-commie-barbarians "working trip"planned for July 13. Declaring the Trump administration's normalization of racism, bigotry and misogyny "an exceptional danger," a "March of Millions," by the Stop Trump Coalition prompted over 80,000 people to sign up within hours of being announced on social media. Two months before the event, about 180,000 people have already committed to take part, raising organizers' hopes they can assemble the largest protest in U.K. history.

Uniting "Together Against Trump" to oppose his attempts to "use diversity as the scapegoat on which America is  made great again," protesters of a wide range of proclivities have stepped up. Efforts range from a campaign to get Green Day’s 2004 hit “American Idiot” to No. 1 on the UK singles music chart while he's there, to buses being chartered so people from outlying areas can offer "the biggest welcome," to the possible revival of a Show Your Rump To Trump event cancelled last year when he did, to a cheeky #FridayThe13th hashtag drawing comments like that of@Harryslaststand: "As I am 95 years old, I know what fascism looks like. That's why when Donald Trump comes to visit Britain, I'll be out on the streets protesting."

One of the most fabulous contingents promises to be a Drag Protest by "drag kings, queens, queers and our allies" to highlight Trump's multiple anti-LGBTQ actions, from reinstating a ban on transgender military and gutting the rights of transgender students and workers to undermining equal marriage and welcoming openly homophobic creeps like Mike Pence into the halls of power. Beyond those specific issues, organizers stress their responsibility to stand in solidarity with all other marginalized groups - whether by race, class or gender - affected by the administration and its "rhetoric of intolerance." "To not object to the visit would seem like a betrayal of the tolerant society that the UK  strives to be," insists Cheddar Gorgeous, a drag queen and key organizer for the protest, which will join the larger march. "When diversity is attacked, it is imperative that marginalized people stay visible, stand up to bullies and engage with what is going on."

 Gorgeous likes to cite the the LGBTQ community's historic activism, from Stonewall to the fierce Silence = Death AIDS movement of 1980s New York to Trump's massive cuts to HIV/Aids efforts today. As "people who put themselves forward in an extravagant way," says Gorgeous, "that allows you (to) be heard, and to be seen." For those without a voice, "Anything that encourages people (to) have a debate, or maybe causes a disruption, is helpful," never mind Trump's famous cluelessness. "It’s a lot less about one man’s opinions or views (and) more about how we can use him to draw attention to the very real issues affecting people." Most vitally, Gorgeous chooses to use the conspicuousness of drag queens - often viewed as their weakness - as a strategic strength to celebrate diversity. "By pushing the way that we look to the extremes, we are showing that we are not ashamed to be different – we are proud of our differentness. If we can be accepted as the extreme glittery spectacles that we are, then it just might make it easier for everyone else to be themselves, too."

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