Mulvaney, a biological man who identifies as a woman, acquired millions of followers on social media over the past several months while documenting a transition into girlhood. The campaign has generated a number of brand deals for Mulvaney over the past year, with a collaboration between the influencer and Bud Light recently drawing a heightened degree of backlash since many beer consumers have no apparent interest in promoting radical gender theory.
Bud Light confirmed that the company has a brand partnership with Mulvaney, adding that the deal is part of an effort to “authentically connect” with customers.
Social media users noted that Jack Daniel’s, a whiskey company based in Lynchburg, Tennessee, partnered with drag queens previously featured on RuPaul’s Drag Race two years ago. Performers named Bebe Zahara Benet, Trinity the Tuck, and Manila Luzon participated in a “Drag Queen Summer Glamp” sponsored by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire brand, which aired the three-episode series online during Pride Month in 2021.
“Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire is honored to partner with Bebe, Trinity, and Manila on a campaign that reaffirms our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” Jack Fire Brand Manager Lauren Richmond said in a press release. “This series demonstrates our brand’s holistic approach to engaging the consumers we serve through culture and unexpected partnerships.”
The three episodes centered on the drag queens planning a Pride Month celebration featuring Southern barbecue with the help of Jack Daniel’s. “The idea of three big city drag queens glamping out at the iconic Jack Daniel Distillery was an experience I couldn’t pass up,” Bebe Zahara Benet said. “I had no idea what to expect, but the distillery staff really rolled out the red carpet for us. Who would have thought we had so many fans in Lynchburg?”
Social media users also noted the many smaller LGBTQ-themed campaigns Jack Daniel’s has launched over the past two years. The company’s Instagram account in Canada boasted about a $22,000 donation the brand made to Rainbow Railroad, a nonprofit which battles “systemic, state-enabled homophobia and transphobia.” The Canadian branch of Jack Daniel’s likewise partnered with a performer named Pythia Queen to promote its Tennessee Apple flavor.
The marketing campaign from Bud Light comes as Republican governors and legislators seek to outlaw sex change procedures, noting the permanent damage that surgeries and cross-sex hormones can render upon patients. Other bills passed by Republican states prohibit sexually suggestive or explicit drag shows in public or near children.
The Biden administration, which hosted Mulvaney for a conversation about “gender-affirming healthcare” with President Joe Biden in the White House last year, participated in several Transgender Day of Visibility events last week and spoke against the Republican bills. One such event was a roundtable with “transgender kids and their parents” hosted by United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice to discuss the state-level efforts to ban sex change surgeries.
The events hosted by the Biden administration occurred days after a 28-year-old woman who identified as a man killed three children and three adults at The Covenant School, a ministry of the conservative evangelical Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville. Senior officials in the White House have not explicitly admitted that the shooting appeared to target Christians.