In the ever-expanding battle against anti-trans and anti-drag legislation sweeping across the United States, D’Arcy Drollinger, a prominent figure in San Francisco’s drag community, has assumed a pivotal role. As the city’s inaugural drag laureate, Drollinger, who embraces “she” pronouns in drag and “he” in daily life, unexpectedly found herself at the forefront of a culture war that has been brewing for years.
Drollinger’s appointment comes at a time when anti-trans measures are gaining traction in various states, and bills targeting drag performances are being enacted. In her 18-month tenure, she will receive a stipend of $55,000 and is tasked with embodying San Francisco’s historic and diverse drag culture, elevating it onto the national and international stage.
This position not only bestows official recognition upon an art form often dismissed as frivolous but also underscores its newfound political significance. Drollinger emphasizes that drag is not merely entertainment but a lens through which to perceive various art forms. She believes its larger-than-life nature allows for a unique perspective on the world.
Despite the demanding schedule of a drag laureate, Drollinger has found clarity in her role as a spokesperson for LGBTQ+ rights. San Francisco’s decision to appoint a drag laureate is in response to the escalating anti-LGBTQ+ crimes and legislation nationwide, a stance championed by Mayor London Breed. Drag performances, including drag story hours, have been targeted by protests and discriminatory legislation, with Texas attempting to ban drag performances temporarily. Drollinger recognizes the urgency of her role in defending LGBTQ+ rights in this challenging climate.
As she navigates this responsibility, Drollinger reflects on her lifelong dedication to drag, which began at age four and culminated in opening Oasis, a nightclub central to the queer community in San Francisco. Despite the challenges, she remains resolute in her belief that drag not only entertains but supports and uplifts the LGBTQ+ community. Drollinger’s aim is to work closely with the city to preserve and celebrate queer history while inspiring authenticity and fabulousness, believing that collective change is possible through individual empowerment.
In a world increasingly beset by hostility and prejudice, D’Arcy Drollinger’s sparkle becomes a powerful weapon in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. As San Francisco’s drag laureate, she exemplifies resilience and courage, reminding us that authenticity and fabulosity can be catalysts for social change.