‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’ has pumped $2 million into ACLU’s legal defense fund for drag shows

Television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has raised $2 million in a little over a year to help the ACLU with a legal defense fund to protect drag queen performances.

The television show is a series about men dressed as caricatures of women competing in pageant-style events in front of judges. The show has raised a reported $2 million in just 14 months for the ACLU’s initiative, the Drag Defense Fund.

According to the ACLU, the fund goes toward the legal defense of “LGBTQ rights, including censorship of drag performers themselves.”

“The ACLU is committed to the importance of drag as a First Amendment right and an important form of artistic expression. It will also fuel the ACLU’s expansive advocacy work in support of the LGBTQ community,” the ACLU wrote in 2023.

Several jurisdictions have put bans on drag shows on public grounds, typically under the guidelines that the shows are explicit and not suitable for minors.

Just months after the legal defense fund was established, the ACLU sued Texas over what the group called an “unconstitutional drag ban.”

The lawsuit addressed Texas’ SB12, which restricted “sexually oriented performances” on the “premises of a commercial enterprise, on public property, or in the presence of an individual younger than 18 years of age.”

A federal judge also barred city officials in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from implementing a ban on drag performances being performed on public property. The judge’s order came after the ACLU of Tennessee brought a lawsuit forward.

The ACLU said at the time that the order “confirms that the community’s free speech rights will be protected at the BoroPride Festival.”

The civil liberties group also claimed that that its legal defense fund was keen on fighting “censorship” in the classroom related to “LGBTQ” topics.

Partners of the fund include MTV and World of Wonder, according to Variety. The latter is a streaming platform for drag queen television shows.

“Drag has a long history in the queer community as not only a source of joy and creativity but as a source of power. Thanks to the hard work and promotion of MTV, World of Wonder, and the queens of ‘Drag Race,’ the Drag Defense Fund continues to fuel our work defending LGBTQ rights across the country at a time those rights are under relentless attack,” ACLU attorney Josh Block told Variety.

The lawyer specifically works on gay initiatives for the company as well as what was referred to as the HIV Project.

“We’re so thankful for this partnership and the support it provides our critical work defending LGBTQ people, our rights and our families,” he added.

The ACLU also coupled the fight against particular policies with the defiance of what they called “anti-trans legislation.” They referred to the bills as “bald attempts” at stifling the freedom of people expressing themselves and an attempt to “restrict [their] right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” has been running for 16 seasons.

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