Guest Opinion: Join me to Drag Out The Vote

  • by Afrika America
  • Wednesday May 1, 2024
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Afrika America is a San Francisco-based drag ambassador for Drag Out The Vote. Photo: Courtesy Drag Out The Vote<br>
Afrika America is a San Francisco-based drag ambassador for Drag Out The Vote. Photo: Courtesy Drag Out The Vote

How did I sashay into this thing called voter advocacy? I'm lucky and proud to say that I have cast a ballot in almost every election I've been eligible to vote in since I turned 18. Growing up a closeted young queer performing arts kid here in San Francisco, my parents instilled in me the ethic to make a plan and execute the why and how I was gonna vote. In high school (I'm a Washington alum — go Eagles!) we had a robust civics program, which not only taught you governmental affairs, but also instilled in you a duty to vote.

Fast forward to 2020! "Producer" and "performer" were a couple of the descriptors that characterized the persona known as Afrika America. I was working my job in aviation by day and brunch/dinners by night/weekends. And then, the COVID pandemic and the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd happened. For me, the world stopped. Many of us took to the streets and rallied against injustice and realized we could make a difference at the ballot box.

Unfortunately, America has short-term memory loss. Post-2016 showed us that one out of five LGBTQ+ folks were not registered to vote, and nearly 100 million voters did not vote. That changed in 2020, but then we saw the cost of being complacent in 2022 when Roe v. Wade was reversed. Now, here in 2024, the die is cast, and we are using our voices to stave off anti-drag, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and to fight against the further erosion of reproductive rights and women's bodily autonomy.

I became a Drag Out The Vote drag ambassador because I realized I could use my platform in the community to engage with audiences in fun ways about serious topics, social justice, and the importance and the impact of voting. Drag Out The Vote is a national nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works with drag performers to promote participation in democracy. Conceived in 2017, drag artists educate and register voters at drag events online and in person by organizing local and national voter activations. Led by fierce drag artists across the nation, we advocate for increased voter access and engagement.

We're lucky we live here in the LGBTQ bubble, but not too far away, even here in the state of California, we see book bans that erase Black, Brown, and Indigenous history, plus censure the LGBTQ+ experience. We see successful attempts to create unrealistic and unreasonable timelines and policies that affect a woman's right to choose or create an undue burden on the victims of rape and incest. Being civically minded and attentive is not only necessary; it's the right we have enshrined in our Constitution.

So I'm here to ask you for four things 
ahead of the November general election. 1. Go to to register to vote or check your voter registration; 2. Take Drag Out The Vote's 2024 Voter Pledge, and sign up for election reminders; 
3. Talk or text your friends and family about making a plan for them to vote; and 4. VOTE. In person. By mail. By absentee ballot.

Sashay to the polls!

Henny, my mother used to say, "Rosa didn't sit on the back of that bus so you couldn't vote! Don't waste it!"

Afrika America is a social justice activist, producer, performer, and a West Coast Drag Out The Vote drag ambassador. She produces and performs in multiple shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and around the country. She was the chairman for the Bay Area Queer Nightlife Coalition that pushed for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all queer spaces and has performed all over the world from Singapore to Cologne, Germany to Sydney, Australia and on "America's Got Talent."

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