boygenius protests Tennessee drag ban at Nashville show - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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boygenius finished the first leg of their tour this past Sunday in Nashville, performing in drag and leading a chant of “Fuck Bill Lee” in protest of Tennessee’s new anti-drag legislation. The anti-drag bill was introduced back in March of 2023 with the intent of banning drag performances in public places and in front of children – with violators being subject to fines and a misdemeanor charge for first-time offenders. While the bill was temporarily blocked on April 1st by a federal judge on the grounds of being unconstitutional and violating the 1st amendment, Tennessee governor Bill Lee has continued to push in the opposite direction, signing the anti-drag bill at the same time as a similar piece of legislation that would effectively ban gender-affirming health care for transgender youth throughout the state.

Julien Baker took the stage at Centennial Park in protest, telling fans that “Today I’m so grateful for my life, not because I get to stand onstage with my best friends … but because I’m content with the person that I am. I have a lot of anger for the people that have made me feel small, and feel erased. And I’ve found it’s a really powerful and humiliating tool to make those people fuck off. I would like you to scream so loud that Governor Lee can hear you.” The trio went on to introduce themselves by their drag names: Lucille Balls (Dacus), Shanita Tums (Baker), and Queef Urban (Bridgers) — see photos at Pitchfork — which was met with widespread crowd applause and support.

The band, made up of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, are not the first to openly speak out against the recent legislative changes. Madonna, Lizzo, Hayley Williams, and others have posted in support of LGBTQ+ rights and the legalization of public drag performances, including a similar protest by alt-rock act Yo La Tengo in which they dressed in drag for concerts in the months following the legislation.

boygenius has also been showing their support for the Tennessee Equality Project which advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ+ people in Tennessee; a limited edition t-shirt the band is selling online raises money for the organization. To learn more about their mission, visit the TNEP website.

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