Drag queens border protest raises funds for LGBT asylum seekers
A group of drag queens organised a protest along the US-Mexico border wall in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley in an effort to raise funds for LGBT+ asylum seekers.
The protest, dubbed the “No Border Wall Protest Drag Show,” took place at the Alice Wilson Hope Park in Brownsville, Texas on February 23.
The drag queens wanted to protest President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to fund the border wall, to call for an end of the border wall construction and to highlight the treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers, for whom they raised funds during their performances.
“Ultimately our goal is to use the beauty of drag, art and performance against the hateful, racist and xenophobic rhetoric that is being projected unto our communities,” read the post promoting the event on Facebook, hosted by drag queen Beatrix Lestrange, aka Joe Colon-Uvalles II.
The construction of a border wall was one of Trump’s key campaign promises—albeit, at the time, he insisted Mexico would pay for it. Instead, the president forced a partial government shutdown on December 22 to obtain the allocation of a $5.7 billion budget from US taxpayers to build a 230-mile long segment of the border wall.
“We don’t want a wall, we want JUSTICE for all asylum seekers, especially the most marginalized in the queer and trans community!!”
— Beatrix Lestrange
The shutdown, which became the longest in US history, ended in January 25. Congress passed a bill earlier this month allocating $1.4 billion for the wall but, dissatisfied with the amount obtained through the bill, Trump declared a national emergency on February 15 to free up to $6 billion of further funding.
One of the areas identified for the wall construction is Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where the activist drag queens, also known as dragtivists, held their protest over the weekend.
Drag queens raised funds towards legal services for LGBT+ asylum seekers
Drag queen Beatrix Lestrange told reporter Reynaldo Leanos, Jr. it was important that the protest would benefit LGBT+ asylum seekers.
“I get teary eyed and emotional every time,” she said, quoted by NBC News, “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.”
Posting on Facebook after the border wall protest, the drag queen announced the outcome of their fundraising efforts to benefit RAICES, a Texas-based charity providing immigration-related legal services.
“We raised a total of $646 for trans and queer asylum seekers tonight in less than 2 hours!!!!” she wrote.
She added: “Thank you everyone for proving that we can collectively rise up and take action! We are better than the false and racist narrative projected on to our border communities!! We don’t want a wall, we want JUSTICE for all asylum seekers, especially the most marginalized in the queer and trans community!!”