Maren Morris Covers ‘Billboard’ With Star Drag Queens, Talks Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry [Picture]
As part of the cover story, Morris moderates a conversation between the four performers that dives into the recent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ bills aimed at limiting and marginalizing drag shows nationwide.
Morris asks the drag performers to discuss how that legislation has impacted their own shows, and how the general public can help protect the rights of drag queens and the LGBTQ+ community.
"Vote. That's first and foremost," stresses Symone.
"Go to these organizations that work with lobbyists to watch out for the progression of these bills," adds O'Hara. "Because it's not just at a state or national level that we're being harmed. It's the small community governments, it's the city governments, it's these local places. We have organizations like ACLU and places of that nature, every state has these lobbyists — the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition would be a great one for anyone to donate to. Of course you have to vote, but we scream that all day every day. It's not just about voting for the president."
Colby also points out that creating a culture of acceptance starts at home, advising that cis-het allies with children can enact change by instilling those values in their kids.
"You don't have to go to every protest and stand on your soapbox. What you do have control over is the kids you created. All you can do is leave this world a little better than you [found] it. Make those kids allies," Colby notes.
For her part, Morris speaks from the perspective as a country star, explaining that she sees her large platform as a mandate for promoting change.
"I would say to my peers who are artists and to record label heads, publishers, songwriters: I don't think any of us got into this art form to be an activist, but that's ultimately thrust upon you to exist in this space and to feel like you can sleep at night," she says.
"You're going to lose fans along the way — that is just part and parcel of being public-facing," Morris continues. "But there is a lane that you're widening; I see it year over year at my shows, the crowd feels so diverse and so safe. I know everyone likes money, but is it worth your biography saying that you never picked a side because both sides pay money to buy a T-shirt?"
Morris has consistently voiced her support for LGBTQ+ rights and spoken out against the bans aimed at drag shows and gender-affirming care for trans youth in Tennessee. In May, she became the first country artist ever to receive the GLAAD Excellence in Media Award.