ROOTS Week 2019. Photo by Melisa Cardona.
Alternate ROOTS is in solidarity with the LGBTQIA and drag arts communities in the South and across the country!
Legislatures across the U.S. are advancing anti-drag bills that are criminalizing an art form and LGBTQIA artists. On March 6, Tennessee was the first state to officially pass an anti-drag law. The goals of these laws are to prohibit performances from public spaces and venues as well as silence freedom of expression by artists across the country. Drag is one of our oldest art forms and is a reflection of how humanity celebrates and expresses gender. 34 anti-drag bills have been introduced across 16 states, many of which are in the ROOTS region: Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Additionally, due to the vague language in many anti-drag bills, these pieces of legislation target transgender, nonbinary, gender fluid, and other gender non-conforming people, restricting their ability to move freely in their lives.
These anti-drag laws come in the midst of a deluge of anti-LGBTQIA legislation sweeping state houses across the country. During 2023, we expect nearly 400 anti-LGBTQIA bills to move through state legislatures. Many of these laws target trans and Southern communities, such as the bans on gender affirming health care for trans youth in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
This historic attack on LGBTQIA rights has a harmful impact and implications in our community, and we must work with and center those most impacted to put an end to these oppressive and harmful bills.
What You Can Do:
- Stay informed: the ACLU is tracking these bills as they advance through state legislatures.
- Follow and donate to organizations on the ground doing this work on the frontlines like Transgender Equality Network, the South Carolina United for Justice and Equality Coalition, the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Fund and Intransitive in Arkansas.
- Use your voice to help educate others what is happening so folks are informed and know how to respond. From your friends and family to your elected officials: speak up and speak out!
Our mission statement calls us to support the creation and presentation of original art and strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression. Our mission leads us to act in solidarity with drag artists and queer communities across the South.
These are our folks in our region and they need our support!