Singer Hayley Kiyoko is the latest star to protest Tennessee’s “drag ban” law. The “Girls Like Girls” singer brought out drag performers on stage during her Nashville show on Monday, supposedly defying a warning from an undercover cop.
Kiyoko, whose discussed her struggles growing up queer, emotionally detailed the chain of events on social media.
“I am getting ready for my show tonight and was really excited to bring out some incredible drag performers,” Kiyoko told fans in a video. The 32-year-old singer teared up and explained she was warned by “an undercover cop at the venue” not to bring out any drag performers as the show is all ages.
“We’re trying to figure out if there’s a workaround or what the situation is, but this is f***ed up. This is so f***ed and I’m so sorry to my community,” Kiyoko cried. “I’m just devastated.”
The show ultimately went on as planned and Kiyoko shared more details in her caption about the “emotional rollercoaster.”
“At soundcheck the day of, I was advised by local law enforcement that having a drag performance at my all ages show could result in legal action. They warned us to not bring any drag performers on stage. I was shattered as you can see in the videos I recorded reacting to the situation in real time before the show started,” she wrote.
Earlier this year, Tennessee became the first state to restrict “adult cabaret performances” in public or in the presence of children.
“I never want to put anyone in a position to be at risk or in danger in any way. But also where is the line of being silenced? How do we navigate these absurd threats and laws against our community? I find pride in making sure my concerts are safe places for ALL,” Kiyoko wrote. “How can I do that if we aren’t allowed to be ourselves, especially at a predominantly queer concert? We deserve to have a safe space to be ourselves while we navigate the evil that is threatening our own existence.”
Kiyoko talked to the two drag performers about her concerns. They “showed no fear” and wanted to do the show as planned.
“We will not be silenced. We will find ways to continue to be our authentic selves, no matter what. We will not give up,” the singer concluded. “No matter how hard they make it.”
Kiyoko is hardly the first musician to take a stand against the law. Last month, Lizzo danced with drag queens at her show.
“THANK YOU TO THESE BEAUTIFUL DRAG QUEENS FOR SHOWING THEIR PRIDE IN TENNESSEE,” she captioned a clip of the moment on Instagram.
Country star Maren Morris was one of the first celebrities to take a stand on stage.