The members of Boygenius made a bold statement during their performance in Tennessee on Sunday. The band’s Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker hit the stage dressed in drag queen makeup and looks as they made a statement about the state governor’s anti-LGBTQ stances with a chant of “F–ck Bill Lee.”
The indie rockers donned wigs and leotards on the Great Lawn stage as they performed their sad songs — and even one of the cameramen did his job in a dress.
“Today I’m so grateful for my life, not because I get to stand onstage with my best friends … but because I’m content with the person that I am,” Baker, who’s from Tennessee, said onstage. “I have a lot of anger for the people that have made me feel small, and feel erased.”
“And I’ve found it’s a really powerful and humiliating tool to make those people f–k off,” she continued. “I would like you to scream so loud that Gov. Lee can hear you.”
Bridgers then started a “Fuck Bill Lee” chant as the hundreds of people in the crowd joined them. The chant arrives months after Gov. Lee passed a bill that categorized drag as “adult cabaret performances” and a separate bill that banned gender-affirming care for trans youth. The anti-drag law was deemed unconstitutional earlier this month, and in April, the U.S. Justice Department shared its opposition to the gender-affirming care bill.
Onstage Sunday, the singers even gave themselves drag names: Baker is Shenida Tums, Bridgers is Queef Urban, and Dacus is Lucille Balls. “Who here has acid reflux?” Baker joked before letting out a laugh.
The members of Boygenius posed in semi-drag on the cover of Rolling Stone earlier this year as they recreated a Nirvana shoot from 1994.
“The government being actually actively trying to kill the coolest people is something I think about every day,” Bridgers told Them earlier this year. “It’s so overwhelming how different the world would be if the AIDS epidemic had never happened. It’s so overwhelming to me, to my exact world, everything that I value.”
“If all of the David Wojnarowiczes and Leslie Feinbergs of the world did all of that suffering for me not to live in a world where I can be so fucking gay on a big stage and have a whole bunch of other gay people here for me and it’d be joy, then it was in vain,” Baker added. “The joy is the living amends that you do for your community as a performer.”
To celebrate Pride Month earlier this month, Rolling Stone featured six drag queens from red states where laws have been introduced to attempt to ban the art form. “[Drag] has done so much for me as a person,” said Aura Mayari, who performs in Tennessee. “It’s helped me find my purpose. And it’s been my sanctuary. That’s what they don’t really see.”