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Solidarity with Seattle 💌 To whom it may concern: As Seattle drag performers and artists, we respect and honor the art and tradition of drag started by Black and Brown trans women. As a community of drag artists, it is our responsibility to uphold their legacy. We stand against racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. We echo the voice of a city under continued assault by overmilitarized and overfunded police. We, like many others, agree with the three basic demands put forward currently. 1. Defund the SPD 2. Fund community health and safety programming 3. Drop all charges on protestors We as a community would also like to acknowledge and condemn Jenny Durkan’s pattern of shifting blame from police onto protestors. Her efforts to gaslight, divide, and conquer will not work. We have seen multiple communities show up for each other, proving our strength and proving that we can keep each other safe. Strong communities make police obsolete. Happy Pride. #defundSPD #BlackLivesMatter
Another day, another call for the defunding of the SPD: Over a hundred local drag performers and artists have issued a letter in response to the growing unrest over police violence and racism. And in case you thought they were fans of the police just because the cops march in a parade once a year, this letter makes their feelings clear.
“Defund the police,” the letter says. “Fund community health and safety programming,” and “drop all charges on protesters.”
Will the city comply with those demands? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s no better month than June for remembering what happens when queer people get fed up with cops.
As of writing, there are 134 names on the list, spanning the alphabet from Aleksa Manila to Yoyo Pearl. (Side note: why don’t we have any queens whose names start with a Z? Somebody start planning a monthly hosted by Zippo Lighter or Zooey Tycoon.)
If you follow any local drag artists you’ve probably already seen it, because they coordinated a mass-posting of the letter across their socials. That’s thanks to the work of Rowan Ruthless, Eucalypstick, and Jane Don’t, who came up with the idea in a group chat.
They quickly wrote up the text, then passed it around to get signoff from every performer they could. Before long, that three-person chat had ballooned to fifty people and counting. And now that the letter’s been published, they’re using that group chat to coordinate protest activities.
“Now we keep up with each other if we’re headed out anywhere,” Rowan Ruthless says, “if we’re marching and if we need any supplies, we keep in touch there.”
In addition to demanding a change in Seattle’s funding priorities, the drag artists' letter also condemns “Jenny Durkan’s pattern of shifting blame from police onto protestors. Her efforts to gaslight, divide, and conquer will not work.”
Anyone who’s worked with drag performers probably knows that their independent spirit can make group activities, shall we say, challenging to coordinate! So it’s nothing short of superhuman that anyone managed to coordinate over a hundred people to sign a statement from the community.
So don't mistake drag's chaotic good for a lack of cohesion. “We have seen multiple communities show up for each other, proving our strength and proving that we can keep each other safe,” the letter concludes. “Strong communities make police obsolete.”