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    Drag Up! Fight Back! March & Rally

    Photos by Rink

    Thousands of drag personalities, drag supporters, transgender community leaders, and allies joined for a large march and rally on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Presented by the People’s March, Oasis, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the SF Democratic Party, and the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, the march began at San Francisco City Hall and continued to Union Square, where the loud and lively rally took place.

    The demonstration was held in response to the growing opposition to drag and trans rights. As the organizers shared: “Our stories are being banned from public libraries, our trans kids and their parents are being criminalized, and any acknowledgment of our existence is being outlawed in classrooms.”

    Speakers and key supporters included Landa Lakes, Sister Roma, Alex U. Inn, Juanita MORE!, Honey Mahogany, D’Arcy Drollinger, Misty Blue, Queen Mother Nicole the Great, Kochina Rude, Mudd the Two-Spirit, Marcel Pardo Ariza, Reigning Men, Oliver Branch, Jota Mercury, Tina V. Aguirre, Santana Tapia, Olga Talamante, Momma’s Boyz, Joseph C. Rocha, Carolyn Wysinger, Joan Jett Blakk, Lotus Boy, Florida Man, Sophia Andary, Shane Zal-Diva, Drag Story Hour, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, and the Transgender District.

    Elected officials participating included State Senator Scott Wiener, Supervisors Rafael Mandelman and Matt Dorsey, and other civic leaders. A series of drag performances were included in addition to speeches and rallying cries. Encouraging “love not hate” was a prevailing theme in comments and imagery.

    Tributes to drag icon Heklina, whose recent death moved the community, were prominent in signs carried by marchers. Heklina’s friend and business partner, D’Arcy Drollinger, reflected the icon’s characteristic image in fashion, makeup, and hair.

    Drollinger said, in part, “This is a time to sparkle brighter. Be louder. Be more fabulous. If you live your life a little more fabulous, you inspire other people to be more fabulous just by your existence. And if everyone’s a little more fabulous, there’s that much less room in their heart, in their minds, for hate and prejudice. So don’t stop sparkling.”

    Sister Roma added, “Drag is not a crime. Trans rights are human rights.”

    Video of the march and rally from Paul Sterling:

    Special Section
    Published on April 20, 2023