Legal Professionals Raise Funds in a Drag Show to Legalize Drag
media contact: Michael Trung Nguyen / firstname.lastname@example.org / (415) 741-6480
Saturday, April 29 at San Francisco’s Oasis
Legal Professionals Raise Funds in a Drag Show to Legalize Drag!
SAN FRANCISCO – Legal professionals in the LGBTQI+ community will take the stage at OASIS (298 Eleventh Street),San Francisco’s internationally acclaimed drag show nightclub / cabaret, on Saturday April 29, 2023 from 2:30pm – 5:30pm to “Legalize Drag” and raise funds for grassroots organizations in Tennessee which recently passed a ban on drag and passed other anti-trans legislation. In the wake of over 400+ anti-trans and anti-drag bills across the nation, local drag organizers and legal professionals Ari Jones and Michael Trung Nguyen decided to mobilize the legal community for this event.
Jones performs in drag as Pop Rox, identifies as non-binary, and uses they / them pronouns. They saw the need to raise funds and showcase legal professionals that also perform in drag to fight back against the legislation. “The criminalization of drag presents a unique hardship for queer legal professionals and others who have to pass background checks and prove a certain moral standard in order to be licensed. The idea that I could lose my law license if I lived in another state simply because I dress a certain way or lip sync to a song is a clear violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution,” says Jones. They add, “That is why I organized this fundraiser – to demonstrate our power and stand in solidarity with those who are in more oppressive jurisdictions.”
“Legalize Drag” will also be livestreamed and is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Nguyen, who performs in drag as Juicy Liu, adds that “Drag is a constitutionally protected freedom of expression and is constitutionally protected speech. To be anti-drag is to be anti-American.” Nguyen, an appointed member of the LGBTQI+ Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, has pushed for a Drag Laureate in San Francisco, which will be picked and announced by Mayor London Breed later this year. He notes, “legal professionals that perform in Drag have a unique vantage point on this centuries-old artform; we also have a special responsibility to advocate for and advance the values of Drag by using levity and parody to add our unique commentary on the state of American society.”
Performers include DJ Another Bard, Justin Back, Anna Turney, Dextra Denovo, Mx. Toffuti, 69 Degrees, and Bobbee Trans Mooremon. Attendees and viewers will hear from San Francisco State University Professor Dr. Clare Sears, LGBTQ elected officials Oakland Councilmember Janani Ramachandran and State Senator Scott Wiener, as well as local pageant winners Miss San Francisco Monroe Lace and Miss Oakland Rhiannon Jones who both identify as LGBTQ.
DJ Another Bard, who uses they/them pronouns and works as an Operations Assistant at Renne Public Law Group, says “This is a time to get loud, throw some glitter and stand together. Drag teaches us acceptance, self-expression and most importantly to laugh in the face of oppression. These are terrifying concepts to those who wish us back in the closet or worse.” Mooremon, who is the current Ms. Gay San Francisco with the Imperial Council of San Francisco and creator of the Trans Leather Pride Flag, notes “Let us not be fooled by all of these bills that on the surface are mainly focused on Drag performers. While yes they do have real life consequences for drag artists, these bills are Republicans’ & Religious Right’s obsession at attacking and further attempts to try and exterminate Transgender people.”
Jones was inspired to create the fundraiser as a way to fight back against the Right, noting “I am here to be different, to be loud, to be trans, and to never stop fighting until we are all not just free to be who we are, but also free from the harassment of those who can’t stand our joy.” Nguyen adds “We hope that attendees and viewers on the livestream will leave the event galvanized and energized to continue doing the hard work of sustained advocacy in the face of relentless attacks on our existence. They can never take our Joy. Our Queer and Trans Joy is our Resistance and how we will fuel our fight to protect our most basic freedoms.”
WHAT: Legalize Drag is a collective of drag artist legal professionals protesting attacks on the art of drag and trans, gender non-confirming, and queer communities.
WHEN: Saturday, April 29, 2023 from 2:30pm-5:30pm
WHERE: OASIS (298 Eleventh St, San Francisco, CA 94103)
WHY: We aim to raise awareness, bring together queer folks, and provide a clear pathway to donate to this cause. We are raising money for the grassroots organizations inclusion tennessee, Tennessee Equality Project, and Protect Trans Health TN.
About the Organizers, Pop Rox and Juicy Liu:
Pop Rox (they/them) – https://www.instagram.com/poproxthehuman/
Pop Rox (aka Ari Jones) is a rocking, candy coated, weirdo by night and an immigration attorney by day. They are a director at Berkeley nonprofit Oasis Legal Services, where they represent LGBTQI+ asylees and other immigrant survivors of trauma. They were recently named one of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers under 40 for 2023.
Juicy Liu (she/her) – https://www.instagram.com/juicyliurealness/
Juicy Liu, a refugee from Dallas, Texas and a descendant of Vietnamese refugees, has learned the power of big, beautiful, blonde hair. A self-proclaimed “drag activist comedy queen,” Juicy was crowned Miss GAPA (GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance) 2016 and has created a platform to bring more awareness and visibility to the Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) community in the Bay Area and beyond, creating the first recognized “QTAPI Week” in the nation in San Francisco in 2021 and expanding nationally this year. Recognized last year by the California State Legislature as a Pride Month Honoree for her activism and advocacy, Juicy serves on the LGBTQI+ Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, helping to create the first San Francisco Drag Laureate, the first in the nation, to be announced by Mayor Breed this year. Outside of drag, Juicy works as a Patent Attorney for Patent Law Works, an Intellectual Property Law Boutique based in Silicon Valley and Salt Lake City.