NYC lawmakers push for Big Apple ‘drag laureate’

Three city lawmakers have introduced legislation that would order Big Apple officials overseeing museums and nightlife to appoint a laureate of the city’s bustling drag performance scene.

The drag laureate would be picked every year by the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs in consultation with the head of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife, all with the goal of helping to boost the local LGBT business community and promote the city’s arts scene, supporters say.

If passed, the bill would provide the laureate — to be named before Jan. 30 every year — with a stipend and “in-kind resources” to cover the costs of the duties associated, though no dollar amount is specified in the legislation.

“The drag laureate would serve to champion and highlight the contributions of the drag community in New York City’s business, arts and cultural spaces,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), the chief sponsor of the measure, which is also backed by Councilmen Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).

Hundreds of drag queens and kings filled the streets for the 27th annual New York City Drag March, an annual drag protest and visibility march taking place as a kick-off to NYC Pride weekend on June 25, 2021.
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Hundreds Of Drag Queens and Kings filled the streets for the 27th annual New York City Drag March, an annual drag protest and visibility march taking place as a kick-off to NYC Pride weekend
If the legislation is adopted the drag laureate would be picked every year by the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs in consultation with the head of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife.
LightRocket via Getty Images

All three lawmakers are leaving the City Council at the end of the year under term limits.

Drag has long been an integral part of Gotham’s gay nightlife scene, but has soared to new prominence in the popular conscious thanks, in part, to the highly popular reality TV contest program, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

The legislation was first introduced in January and received its first hearing Tuesday, where it was left pending without a vote.