Stand Up

Q&A: Xunami Muse on Defending Drag

Miss Congeniality herself talks drag bans, the Gold Tooth Fairy and how to win the crowd.

Here’s your annual reminder that Pride started as a protest. In 2024, the LGBTQIA+ community has plenty of battles to fight, from drag bans to anti-trans legislation. All together, there are more than 500 bills (this year alone!) designed to attack LGBTQIA+ rights. They touch what people read in school, which bathrooms they can use, access to health care and more.

The ACLU’s Drag Defense Fund was launched last year to combat such hateful bills across the country. The fund has been instrumental in drawing attention to dangerous legislation and creating a platform to speak out about injustice. The ACLU has notched amazing wins this year fighting discrimination in schools, protecting health care access and defending our favorite queens’ right to perform in public. This partnership with World of Wonder, MTV and Rupaul’s Drag Race has brought some of the community’s most pressing issues together with its biggest (drag) stars.

We sat down with one such star—Xunami Muse, New Yorker, Miss Congeniality and longtime friend of The Standard. Our favorite natural disaster recently joined an NYCLU LGBTQIA+ Reception in Boom at The Standard, High Line. She caught us up on her activist role models, her work with the ACLU and where the Gold Tooth Fairy (of Snatch Game fame) is today.

Lots of drag fans (us included!) feel concerned about the growing number of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills working their way through legislatures across the country. It’s sometimes hard to know what to do. How can people who love drag (IRL and on TV) help turn the tide?

Keep showing up to the events, support your favorite drag artists' projects. Like, share. The numbers don’t lie. The more people show up to show love and support the harder it is for anyone to try and erase us from the conversation.

Tell us about how you got involved with the ACLU Drag Defense Fund.

I met
 [my friends at The ACLU] at the season 16 premiere event. We just hit it off, and once I learned about their work I vowed to be involved however I could.

The whole world loves drag, some just don’t know it yet.

As upsetting as this political moment is for many LGBTQIA+ people, Pride is a time to come together around solutions. What gives you hope this Pride season?

What gives me hope is that more people are tuning into our art form globally. Having come off of one of the most watched seasons of the franchise, it tells me that what we’re doing is not slowing down, it’s continuing to evolve and reach even more households in so many different languages and cultures. One thing I feel for certain, is that the whole world loves drag, some just don’t know it yet. 

Who are some of your role models in activism?

Peppermint [The ACLU Artist Ambassador for Trans Justice]. She has really taken on the responsibility of educating the masses about her journey with her own existence, and I truly admire that. There’s also Junior Mint, Dev Doe, Gia Love, and so many more.

You didn’t win the crown, but you won the crowd. What advice to you have for an aspiring Miss Congeniality?

Just live authentically. It’s what worked for me.

The Gold Tooth Fairy—where is she now?

Girl she’s buried, looking for bones haha.

Photos by Amber Yang. 


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