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San Francisco Mayor Announces Drag Laureate Position, Funded Through Public Library

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Metallica Joins San Francisco Mayor London Breed In The Band's 40th Anniversary Celebration SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: San Francisco Mayor London Breed attends the Metallica 40th Anniversary Celebration at Chase Center on December 16, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images) Steve Jennings / Contributor
Photo by Steve Jennings/Contributor/Getty Images

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) recently announced a Drag Laureate program to be funded through the city’s budget.

The Drag Laureate role will receive $35,000 in an annual stipend. The funds will come from the San Francisco Public Library out of the two-year budget proposal put forward by the mayor this month.

A group will be formed by various city agencies that will consist of city employees and members of the community to create the format of the program with the first person to fill the slot likely announced in the fall of this year.

“San Francisco’s commitment to inclusivity and the arts are the foundation for who we are as a city,” Breed stated. “Drag artists have helped pave the way for LGBTQ rights and representation across our city, and we must invest in programs that continue their legacies and create opportunities for the next generation of drag performers to thrive. I want to thank the drag community, Human Rights Commission, and Public Library for their work, and I look forward to crowning San Francisco’s first ever Drag Laureate this Fall.”

The concept for the program came from San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy, a community-led initiative. Then-Supervisor Scott Wiener sponsored a measure to establish an LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Task Force, which examined specific issues and then created a list of recommendations.

“The new drag laureate program is a fantastic way to celebrate and support San Francisco’s vibrant and beautiful drag community. Our drag performers are part of the heart and soul of our city. This new partnership with the San Francisco Public Library is a wonderful way to kick off Pride Month,” Senator Scott Wiener said.

“Drag is central to San Francisco’s rich history of self-expression, counterculture, and queer activism,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “Though drag is a now celebrated mainstream art form, we can’t lose sight of our iconic queens who for decades contributed so much to our city’s cultural vibrancy even when it was unsafe to do so. Today, we’re committing to uplifting our next generation of drag queens, ensuring they continue to live and work in the City they call home, and inspiring others to live authentically and proudly.”

The topic of drag shows has made headlines this week after a drag show aimed at young children took place in Dallas, Texas, prompting a state representative to announce he will bring a measure to protect children from such events.

“I promised my voters that I would stand up for their values and fight to protect Texas kids,” Representative Bryan Slaton (R-TX) said. “I was re-elected on that promise and I intend to keep it by authoring legislation to defend kids from being subjected to drag shows and other inappropriate events. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important legislation.”

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