Apr 26, 2024 - Culture

"We're Here" with drag star Latrice Royale premieres on HBO

Latrice Royale onstage below Jesus on a stained glass window

The drag star in "We're Here" season 4. Photo: Courtesy of Greg Endries/HBO

Latrice Royale got her start doing drag shows in Fort Lauderdale, where she's lived for 30 years, but she's known worldwide for "RuPaul's Drag Race," along with its international tours and Las Vegas stint.

State of play: Royale hit the road again last year for HBO's "We're Here," along with queens like Jaida Essence Hall, showing people in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Tulsa, Oklahoma what drag is all about.

  • Before tonight's premiere, Selene chatted with her about the art and activism of drag.

You go into rural towns to show people drag isn't scary. But that in itself can be scary. Why take the risk?

  • Royale: It's important that we dispel those myths that we're scary people and demons and all that. … It's always the people who don't even know or have a clue about drag that sexualize it. And then they want to bring children into the conversation on top of that, and then that just makes fear and hate.

Last time we saw each other you were protesting the anti-drag law in Tallahassee. Now, that law has been blocked along with several other anti-LGBTQ Florida laws. Do you feel like the fight is over for drag queens?

  • The queens of Florida, we don't play when we come to our livelihood…. I flew off my tour to make sure I was there for that. We're fighters in Florida. I've been here for 32 years now and it gets progressively harder to exist here. We're going to keep on fighting. That's why I'm not leaving. People are like, "Why don't you leave?" Because then they'll win!
  • Drag will always be a form of activism. Being a drag queen is political. Supporting drag is political. Supporting trans lives is political. If you stand for any of those you are an activist, and your activism shows with you showing up.

How can drag fans and LGBTQ allies support the industry besides just watching shows?

  • We need you to show up to the polls and vote…. We have a lot of "allies" that are fun for the kiki but then when it gets to real political issues they're voting against you. I don't want that. I don't want your dollars and I don't want you to come to the club to kiki. I want our real allies to show up.
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