Melissa McCarthy defended drag queens on Monday when she took to Instagram and shared a message of support.
The Bridesmaids star, 52 – who will soon be seen as Ursula in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid – placed a collage of iconic drag characters around a central statement.
“You’ve been entertained by drag queens all your life,” McCarthy’s post read. “Now don’t act like it’s a problem.”
The collage featured legendary drag stars like Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot, and Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies.
Melissa’s supportive post comes amid a wave of anti-drag legislation sweeping the US, with Tennessee last week passing a law restricting “adult cabaret performances” in public or in the presence of children.
Collage for a Purpose: The Bridesmaids star placed a collage of iconic drag characters around a central statement. “You’ve been entertained by drag queens all your life,” McCarthy’s post read. ‘Don’t act like it’s a problem’
Showing her support: Melissa McCarthy, 52, defended drag queens on Monday when she took to Instagram and shared a supportive post
Across the country, conservative activists and politicians complain that drag contributes to the “sexualization” or “grooming” of children. Several states are considering restrictions, but none have acted as quickly as Tennessee.
Thousands of comments poured into McCarthy’s comment section, with many drag queens thanking the star for her support.
BenDeLaCreme wrote: ‘THANK YOU. It’s disheartening to see how few allies are paying attention to what’s happening.’
The RuPaul’s Drag Race star added, “These drag bans are just the tip of the iceberg. A way to slowly desensitize the American public to increasingly anti-queer rhetoric.
“I hope to continue to see celebrities and public figures speak out as more and more LGBTQ+ lives are put at risk.”
Another star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Pandora Boxx, supported BenDeLaCreme’s post, writing, “Thank you! Drag queens are not the problem.’
Speak against Rolling stone in 2014, McCarthy spoke of the “trust” she gained from the drag community when she was a young stand-up comedian pretending to be a drag queen in New York City.
Describing her own over-the-top drag persona, Miss Y, the A-lister said, “I was there with my lovely gay friends and I was dressed like a big old drag queen.
“I went by Miss Y. I had on a gold lame swing coat, huge wig, big eyelashes. I talked about being incredibly rich and beautiful and living extravagantly, and the first night worked out great. It was such a happy, good feeling and it gave me so much confidence.’
A transvestite reads a book to children at the government-funded San Lorenzo Library
Thousands of comments poured into McCarthy’s comment section, with many drag queens thanking the star for her support. RuPaul’s Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme wrote a powerful statement
Another star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Pandora Boxx, supported BenDeLaCreme’s message
Confident queen: McCarthy spoke to Rolling Stone in 2017 about the “confidence” she gained from the drag community when she was a young stand-up comedian in New York City (pictured at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards)
McCarthy’s best friend, shoe designer Brian Atwood, reminisced Rolling stone about how Melissa would dress up as Miss Y and attend the groundbreaking Wigstock drag festival.
“It was the time of Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, and Miss Y was Missy’s big alter ego,” Atwood told Rolling Stone. “When we went to Wigstock in Tompkins Square Park, Miss Y was at her best. Frontal. That was her time. It was hilarious.’
Melissa also spoke of her affinity for the superhuman confidence that drag queens exude and how they “just don’t care.”
“I really like watching the bolder ones who are overly confident without anything to back it up,” she said. “It’s someone who’s somehow unconvinced of everything we should and shouldn’t be doing. They don’t give if**t. I have a real obsession with people who just don’t care.’
Some Republicans and conservative activists have complained in recent months that drag contributes to the “sexualization” or “grooming” of children.
In Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a piece of legislation restricting where cross-dressing performances can take place by banning “adult cabaret entertainment” that is “harmful to minors” on public property or locations where children can see the performance.
The bill does not explicitly include the words “drag show,” but expands the definition of adult cabaret to include “male or female impersonators,” as well as topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, and strippers.
Meanwhile, the Arkansas House voted last month for “adult-oriented” performances, revising a measure previously aimed at drag shows following complaints of discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Meanwhile, the Arkansas House voted last month for “adult-oriented” performances. The bill will eventually end drag storytime performances, where drag queens read to students for free in public libraries. The events have become part of the heated cultures in the US over gender discussions and children
The bill, which passed the Republican House by a vote of 78 to 15, no longer explicitly adds drag shows to the list of businesses considered “adult-oriented,” addressing some of the concerns of LGBTQ advocates and take down other opponents. The bill now goes back to the Republican Senate majority, which approved an earlier version of the restriction.
“This bill is not about whether drag is acceptable,” Republican Representative Mary Bentley, the sponsor of the bill, told House members before the vote. “It’s about whether we should expose our children to sexually explicit behavior.”
Arkansas is one of several states where Republican lawmakers have proposed restrictions on drag shows, which have been targeted by right-wing activists and politicians in recent months.
Protesters have appeared at events such as drag story hours, in which colorfully dressed drag queens read books to children. Opponents of such events have argued that they are harmful to children.
Under the current version of the Arkansas bill, the limited performances would include performers who are nude or semi-nude and purposely expose a specific anatomical region or prosthetic breasts or genitalia.
To meet the definition, the performance must contain real or simulated sexual activity and be intended to appeal to “lustful” interests, a term not defined in the law.