Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Chemistry and Biochemistry

Director of Thesis

Liam Hein

Second Reader

Guillermo Wippold


Since 2022, at least 21 states have considered, filed, or passed legislation with the goal of banning or limiting drag performances in public spaces or in the presence of minors. These pieces of legislation seek to suppress drag performances on the grounds that they appeal to sexual interests, and they even go as far as to claim that drag performers aim to groom and assault children at their performances. These claims are baseless and vastly misrepresent the true breadth of drag as a performance art and the positive messages it promotes, as well as suggest that bias against the LGBTQ+ community and their viewpoints is the root cause of wanting to silence drag performances. In this study, six drag performers living in states affected or threatened by this legislation were interviewed to gather their sentiments on the matter. This was done with the overall goal of revealing the true nature of drag amidst the onslaught of misinformation about the community coming from the political right. The interview data was analyzed using thematic analysis and produced 13 themes that explain drag’s true nature and intentions, point out the discriminatory nature of anti-drag legislation, and highlight the harmful effects it poses on the LGBTQ+ community.

First Page


Last Page



© 2024, Brian D. Briggs