Drag queens lobby members of Congress

Drag artist Joey Jay speaks at a press conference at the House Triangle near the U.S. Capitol on June 25, 2024. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A group of drag queens on June 25 traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress to support pro-LGBTQ+ legislation.

“Drag Race Philippines” judge Jiggly Caliente, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 13 contestant Joey Jay and Brigitte Bandit urged lawmakers to support the Equality Act, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Transgender Bill of Rights, which would add trans-specific protections to federal nondiscrimination laws. 

Caliente, Jay and Bandit met with U.S. Reps. Juan Ciscomani (D-Ariz.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), and Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) and/or their staffers.

Jay posted to her X account a picture of her, Caliente, and Bandit outside Crockett’s office. The Texas Democrat in response said “you’re always welcome, queens.”

MoveOn organized the visit, which it called the Drag Lobby Day.

“Today we brought together a trio of advocates and drag artists to stick up for LGBTQ folks, talk about what’s at stake and fight back against some extremist, hateful attacks, and narratives from conservative politicians,” said MoveOn Campaign Director Nakia Stephens during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

Caliente said the Equality Act and the Trans Bill of Rights “will make it easier for people to find and keep employment and protect our communities more fully from discrimination in housing, health care, and so much more.”

Jay, who now lives in Phoenix, cited statistics that indicate 320 trans people were killed in 2023. Jay also stressed to conservatives that drag queens and LGBTQ people are not “trying to shove our lifestyle down your throats.”

“We are just trying to live in peace without fear of being murdered,” said Jay.


Bridget Bandit — known as the “Dolly of Austin” — has testified against two anti-drag bills in Texas while in drag. Bandit noted she joined an American Civil Liberties Union of Texas lawsuit against the state’s Senate Bill 12, which would have criminalized drag shows and other performances that took place in front of children, “to fight for our freedom of expression.”

A federal judge last September blocked the law from taking effect.

“This fight is far from over,” said Bandit. “We continue to face the effects of this harmful rhetoric legitimized by our lawmakers.”

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