September 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm EDT | by Steph Purifoy
Virtual Drag Out the Vote event features ‘Drag Race’ alum
Cynthia Lee Fontaine (Photo courtesy of Drag Out the Vote)

Hundreds tuned in live on Thursday evening to watch Drag Out the Vote’s latest event to encourage LGBTQ people across the country to vote in upcoming elections.

The fast-paced, live streamed event featured pre-recorded performances from multiple queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race;” including Brita Filter, Rock M. Sakura, The Vixen, Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Jaremi Carey.

Drag Out the Vote, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, works in collaboration with hundreds of drag performers in every state to “drag” their communities to the polls this fall. The “Drag Ambassadors” have hosted dozens of grassroots events throughout the year to encourage their audiences to register and have a plan for voting. 

Brita Filter, one of the organization’s national co-chairs and former “Drag Race” contestant, hosted Thursday’s event.

“Since the 1960s drag has been a platform to create change. We just celebrated the 50th year anniversary of Pride this year, 50 years of fierce protests led by drag artists and trans women of color,” she said in her opening speech. “On stage and online drag performers have commanded attention, spoken their minds, and challenged the world’s perception of gender. Now, we are uniting as drag artists to increase voter turnout. We are elevating voices that have been historically marginalized and ignored.”

The event also showcased the talents of other drag artists like Blackberri, a bearded performer from Houston, and Cissy Walken, a performer from New York City.

Drag Ambassador Ursula Major, who is former contestant on season one of “Dragula,” spoke of the issues facing marginalized communities in 2020 and encouraged viewers to vote early during the show.

“We need to make sure we are taking into account our queer communities, our trans communities, our Black, Indigenous and other marginalized groups. We need to make sure that we are taking care of our health and our safety and our future,” she said. “So, I know you’ve seen a bunch of scary stuff coming from me and my fellow ‘Dragula’ performers, but there’s nothing more terrifying than passing up your right to vote right now.”

The show was done in collaboration with Rock the Vote, another nonprofit organization devoted to increasing voter turnout amongst young citizens.

Drag Out the Vote was founded in 2019 by author and LGBTQ ally Jackie Huba. After seeing the results of the 2016 election and after finding out that more than 100 million people didn’t vote, Huba said she realized she needed to devote her time to becoming an activist.

“I wanted to make the biggest impact I could and voter registration was the number one thing that we could do coming into this election season,” she said in an interview. “What had never been done was mobilizing drag artists all over the country in service of getting out the vote.”

Huba formed Drag Out the Vote along with friend and former “Drag Race” contestant Jaremi Carey, also known as Phi Phi O’Hara. Together, they began forming the network of Drag Ambassadors and supplying them with information and materials to educate their own audiences.

Voting isn’t just about a candidate or a party, Huba said during Thursday’s event, it’s also about issues that impact marginalized communities.

“We vote for those whose voices are suppressed at the ballot box and otherwise. We vote for a healthier community and healthier planet,” she said. “So join me in making sure you and all your squirrel friends are registered to vote, have a plan to vote, and will vote early. There is so much at stake in what is the most significant election of our lifetimes.”

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