San Jose council meeting starts with drag performance
San Jose-based drag queen WooWoo Monroe spoke against anti-drag legislation and performed at the City Council meeting on March 21, 2023. Photo by Jana Kadah.

    San Jose is sending a clear message it stands by the LGBTQ community as other parts of the country double down on outlawing drag shows.

    The San Jose City Council started its Tuesday meeting with a performance by local drag artist WooWoo Monroe—a first in city history. Councilmember Omar Torres invited Monroe to protest anti-drag legislation proposed in Republican-majority states such as Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Tennessee was the first state to outlaw drag shows in public spaces earlier this month.

    While California and San Jose haven’t seen similar legislation proposed, Torres said it’s still important to remind residents that the city is a welcoming space.

    “Our city should be the sanctuary to reinvest and uplift Black, LGBTQ and non-binary folks so they can develop their talent, creativity and where they can thrive and become architects of their lives,” Torres said at the meeting. “We shouldn’t be making (drag) illegal, we should embrace it.”

    @sanjosespotlight

    San Jose kicks off its council meeting with a drag performance to protest the anti-drag and LGBTQ legislation across the nation. #SanJose #LGBTQ #localnews #drag #fyp

    ♬ original sound – San José Spotlight

    Monroe sang “I Am What I Am” from the 1983 Broadway musical “La Cage aux Folles” and said non-LGBTQ allies need to speak out against anti-drag and anti-trans legislation that aims to “suppress people who are only trying to do and live a life of authenticity.”

    “When we live in a world where you cannot express your true self, you become a prisoner,” Monroe said.

    Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or follow @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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