City Names America's First Drag Laureate

'My goals are to make San Francisco sparkle,' D'Arcy Drollinger says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2023 10:35 AM CDT
San Francisco Names Nation's First Drag Laureate
D'Arcy Drollinger stands for a portrait outside Oasis nightclub Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Anti-trans legislation is roiling the nation, and bills prohibiting drag performances are cropping up in statehouses. San Francisco is fighting back Thursday by naming the nation's first drag laureate, an ambassador-style position designed to represent the city's famous LGBTQ+ community at a time when rights are under attack, the AP reports. In a city known for its support of LGBTQ+ rights, San Francisco Mayor London Breed says it was a natural step to create a position that not only embraces drag culture but puts government resources toward it. D'Arcy Drollinger, a well-known drag performer and nightclub owner, will receive a $55,000 stipend in her 18-month role as the city's inaugural drag laureate.

"My goals are to make San Francisco sparkle. I think drag performers bring a lot of sparkle and humor and glamour and silliness to the world. I think that is part of why drag is so successful," Drollinger says, adding that she expects to be in drag for the entirety of her role. "I'm going to be in drag pretty much 24/7 for the next 18 months." She notes that San Francisco's drag community is already politically engaged and active. "There's a lot of power for the drag community in San Francisco," she says. "I feel very honored to be able to take that one more step."

In San Francisco, Drollinger will inaugurate the role three weeks before Pride Month begins. Her duties will span from producing and participating in drag events to serving as a spokesperson for San Francisco's LGBTQ+ community to helping officials to ensuring the city's drag history is "shared, honored and preserved." The job posting sought someone who will "embody San Francisco's historic, diverse, and inclusive drag culture, elevating the entire community on the national and international stage."

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Drollinger says she felt both nervous and honored when she was told the job was hers, given the recent violence targeting drag performers, even in the Bay Area. "I know that there are a lot of anti-drag folks out there, and they are very loud, right? But I also don't want to live my life under the shadow of fear. I don't want to have intimidation stop me from growing," she says. "So, yes, I am a little nervous. But I got a lot of fabulous people and fabulousness behind me."

(More San Francisco stories.)

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