On Saturday, Feb. 23, a group of performers from throughout the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas gathered in Brownsville for a “No Border Wall Drag Protest.” This part of the state, which butts up against the Mexico border, currently has an existing border structure, and in front of that structure (seen above) is where the performances took place.
The goal of these queens, as Reynaldo Leanos Jr. reports for NBC News, was to show people that the “border crisis” is a fabricated non-emergency and that more barriers aren’t needed in the region. The money raised by the “No Border Wall Drag Protest” went towards support of LGBTQ asylum seekers.
“We’ll try to bring joy, positivity, beauty, drag, culture to whatever this is,” said Beatrix Lestrange — organizer of the drag protest — while referring to the border wall behind her. Lestrange calls herself a “dragtavist,” and she dedicates her work to social activism.
“The vision was to perform in front of this wall and project our beauty and our glamour and our empowerment against this symbol that stands for hate, racism and xenophobia,” Lestrange says. “All of these things that aren’t really happening in our community.”
Songs performed at the “No Border Wall Drag Protest” included “American Idiot” by Green Day and, naturally, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.
About the LGBTQ asylum seekers the drag protest was intended to benefit, Lestrange says, “I get teary eyed and emotional every time, because they’re already fleeing really horrible conditions. They’re fleeing homophobia, transphobia, violence, trauma, only to come to the doorsteps of our country and encounter more of that.”
Lestrange also says she’s hoping that the “No Border Wall Drag Protest” she organized will be replicated in other parts of the state and country. “If we can do this in front of the border wall, then they can do something similar,” she says. “Do it now, because tomorrow is too late.”
What do you think of this No Border Wall drag protest in Texas? Would you have attended?
All images by Reynaldo Leanos Jr. via NBC News