Drag queens unite for Easter Sunday protest in West Hollywood


Drag artists Honey Davenport and Kerri Colby, both former competitors on the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will perform at Drag March LA on Easter Sunday in protest of anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide. Images courtesy of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

When drag queen Honey Davenport first started performing in New York City 15 years ago, they say drag was a source of “fun and expression.” 

But in recent years, Davenport says the stakes have changed. “It's become a protest, because now when I go to work, I'm doing this in spite of what might happen to me.” 

This year the ACLU has tracked more than 450 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in state houses across the U.S. Most of those bills target trans people, especially trans youth. But there’s also been a push in some states to criminalize some drag performances. The most high profile example of the latter was a bill signed into law in Tennessee that bans drag performances on public property or places where minors might be present. A federal judge put it on hold last week. 

All this legislation has mobilized Davenport, who is nonbinary, to protest. They earned national fame after competing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2019. Davenport says they feel a responsibility to use their platform to fight not just for drag performers, but also for the larger trans community.

“Even RuPaul said, ‘We're the Marines of the LGBTQ+ movement,’” says Davenport. “Because we are the fullest expression of our community, we've  become the figurehead of it as well, and that comes with responsibility, especially when our rights are being threatened.” 

Drag artist Honey Davenport in their apartment, getting ready for a performance days ahead of Drag March LA. Photo by Robin Estrin.

“If you're gonna say it's illegal for me to walk down the street in drag,” says Davenport, “then what’s to say that my trans sister wouldn't be called a drag queen, and sued or fined or locked up for existing?”

Davenport will join drag artists Suadé and Kerri Colby – another alum of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – for a performance this Sunday at Drag March LA, a protest of the anti-LGBTQ legislation that’s been moving through Republican state houses this year. 

The march is hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, with more than 40 community sponsors representing LGBTQ+ organizations, advocacy and faith groups.

The event will begin with a rally at 11 a.m. In addition to performances from Davenport and Colby, it will also feature speakers like Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. From there, attendees will begin a mile-long march down Santa Monica Boulevard.

Attendees are encouraged to RSVP.

Oliver Delgado, communications director for the LGBT Center, says organizers are leaning into a history of protests that defined the LGBTQ movement of the 1960s – like the Stonewall Riot and also a lesser-known protest at The Black Cat here in LA over police brutality against LGBTQ people.

“These weren't tea parties. These were full-on moments of queer people being fed up and harassed, and fighting back,” Delgado says.

Davenport says they will be wearing their “Sunday best” to the march, which is happening on Easter Sunday. That might mean wearing a corset and dress made from flowers – a nod to Marsha P. Johnson, one of the trans activists who led the charge at Stonewall.

“The reason why the flower piece really spoke to me is because it reminded me of the picture of Marsha P. Johnson with the flowers in her hair, and I was like, okay, this really gives Marsha P. Johnson vibes, but my high-fashion, Honey Davenport version of it.” 

Representatives of local faith organizations such as All Saints Church and Founders Metropolitan Community Church will have a presence at the event, despite the fact that it’s scheduled on the same day as one of the most important holidays in the Christian faith. 

Pastor Cara Quinn of All Saints, which is hosting its own drag show later this month, says her congregation is “Jesus-centered,” “social-justice rooted,” and “about half queer-identifying.” 

“There are actually a lot of Christian denominations and congregations that you'll find – and pastors – that are affirming, fully affirming of trans [people], fully affirming of all expressions of queer identifying humans,” says Quinn. “But they're not vocal. They're not loud, and I think we're just in the space where we're like, let's get loud, let's get loud with our advocacy. Let's not be afraid.”

Delgado from the LA LGBT Center says the congregations will be welcomed at the march.

“If I saw my reverend, saw my clergy, or saw sisters and representatives of the cloth at a drag march, I would say, ‘Count me in for every Sunday… because that's a congregation that I want to be a part of.’”