Drag Star Ginger Minj on Why She’s Choosing to Stay in Florida Amid Anti-LGBTQ Laws: ‘This Is My Home Too’

RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Ginger Minj says drag is inherently a form of political activism. (Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for VH1)

Ginger Minj is arguably one of the most recognizable faces to emerge from RuPaul’s Drag Racethe RuPaul-led campy reality competition franchise trying to find America’s next drag superstar.

Although Minj hasn’t technically won a season yet (she’s appeared in three seasons of the Drag Race franchise), it hasn’t stopped them from achieving crossover fame. The Queen has become a sought-after headliner at queer nightclubs across the country and has even appeared on Netflix alongside Jennifer Aniston dumplings and Bette Midler on Disney+ Hocus pocus 2.

Despite her success, Minj is the first to admit that now is a scary time for drag queens — especially in her home state of Florida, which features drag queens and a range of LGBTQ issues in the crosshairs an ongoing culture war over proposed legislation that would, among other things, ban minors from attending drag shows; that follows a series of bills introduced in at least 16 states, including Tennessee, Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and others aiming to do so do the same.

“Drag is a threat to people who don’t get it,” Minj tells Yahoo Entertainment. “On the surface you see these really strong people who are very confident. They go out there and say, ‘This isn’t right’ and ‘We demand change’ and ‘Heal this’ or ‘Heal that’, but when you look at people like us and you don’t understand us, it can be a very scary thing. “

Minj, who started her career at Pulse Nightclub, the Orlando gay club-turned-target a mass shooting in 2016the largest in American history at the time, recalls the fear she felt in the wake of that tragedy — and how recent attacks have revived past memories.

“It really shook the community, the whole world,” says Minj, who has toured the country with others Drag Race Stars at the time of the Pulse shooting, which threatened their safety so much that FBI agents had to escort them on their remaining stops.

“‘You move all targets,'” she recalls the FBI saying. “‘You are 11 of the most famous drag queens in the world and from now on agents will meet you at every stop you visit and there will be an evacuation route.'”

For Minj and other drag queens as headlinersPerforming at risk to one’s safety became the “new norm” in the years following the Pulse nightclub shooting. The trauma and anxiety continued to escalate after the 2022 shooting Club Q in Colorado. Now, she says, as politicians continue their “crusade” against the LGBTQ community by restricting access to drag performances, she’s been wracked with bouts of anxiety.

“It’s just so sad to me and so nonsensical,” she says of the rising anti-drag sentiment emanating from conservative politicians. “It breaks my heart, but it also fuels that fire to be like this NO. I haven’t fought as hard as I have when I need someone to take me away or intimidate me not to.”

Therefore, Minj implores, she refuses to let fear pull her away from the state she loves.

“If you’re going to party in our spaces, you need to help us keep them safe,” she says. “I can travel the world and go to all these places where that’s not a particular problem, where people hug us and they love us and we can step on stage and not feel like, oh my god, what’s going to happen ? Am I being attacked? Am I being attacked? The first reaction is: I should just move to one of these places. I should sell my house, pack up my dog ​​and go somewhere that loves and accepts me. And then I stop and think about it and I go NO. This is my home too.”

“I grew up here, I’ve worked for years to make a difference in this community,” she adds. “So it would be unfair to me or anyone if I gave it up and moved away. I have to stay here. I have to work and I have to fight.”

To that end, Minj says she’s gearing up for her most exciting performance yet, where she’s determined to remind audiences that drag isn’t just political, it’s also “the pinnacle of joy and fun” for all ages.

Minj is headlining the weekend of April 1st Golden Conan event where hundreds of golden girls Fans are flocking to Chicago to celebrate everything they love about the hit 1980s sitcom. At a time when drag has become a hot topic, Minj hopes the celebration can be a time for unity, strength, and friendship. (Just don’t ask her to do that golden girls‘ Favorite Treat: “I’ve never successfully baked a cheesecake,” she admits. “That’s why I have to go to the convention to get the cheesecake that’s already here!”)

Minj says she’s optimistic about the future of drag, which is why she’s particularly focused on providing lessons to the next generation of artists that she wishes she could have access to when she grows up.

“That’s actually what my entire career has shifted to at this point — trying to share my story with the next generation of drag artists or queer kids,” she says. “Growing up in Leesburg [Florida]there was nobody like me, so I’m very grateful to be one of many who get to be that for this next generation.”

She adds, “I don’t want to preach to people. That’s not my goal. I like having fun with people and if they learn something from it, that’s great!”

Source : www.yahoo.com

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