This Pride season, the city of Palm Springs, California is taking a stand for drag queens, naming the theme for its upcoming Pride celebration ‘Drag Now. Drag Forever.’
“We declare, for all those who are under attack, including straight allies and entertainers, that in this anti-drag, anti-LGBTQ+ era, this city, in this day, in this time, will be a city of sanctuary and freedom of expression of all forms,” said Greater Palm Springs Pride in the announcement.
Drag performance has faced heightened legislative attacks over the past year. 2022 saw escalating protests against drag performances, often perpetrated by armed white nationalists. In March, a Neo-Nazi group in Florida admitted that anti-drag hysteria was their most effective messaging tool for recruiting new members. That same month, Tennessee became the first state to criminalize public drag performance, and at least 14 other states have followed suit by proposing similar measures.
Palm Springs, on the other hand, has been long known as an LGBTQ+ haven. In addition to a high concentration of queer residents, it became the first US city to elect an all-LGBTQ+ government in 2018.
Now, Palm Springs is digging in their (platform) heels against the tide of anti-drag discrimination. “Greater Palm Springs Pride declares Palm Springs, the Mother Church for Drag in the Coachella Valley, supports drag queens, kings, drag mothers, and baby queens regardless of their realness, flawlessness, disheveled presentation, or fierceness,” the announcement says. “Drag is not a crime. Drag is art. Drag is entertainment and has existed for hundreds of years and is part of everyday life.”
“‘Drag Now. Drag Forever.’ is a theme that calls on the community to unite and support the drag community,” added Palm Springs Pride president and CEO Ron deHarte. “Drag is not a crime. Our country has a rich history of drag as an artistic expression, standard of activism, and the backbone of fundraising in the community. We call on everyone to support the drag community and fight all anti-LGBTQ+ bills that threaten the freedom and equality of all.”
The 37th annual Palm Springs Pride Week will take place in the Coachella Valley on November 3-5. The official parade and festival will take place in downtown Palm Springs. Past events at Pride Week have included drag pageants, concerts, wedding ceremonies, and the Pride Golf Classic.