SYMONE SANDERS (HOST): I want to start with a bit of a reality check if we can. You were invited to the White House to witness the signing of this historic bill, and after that signing you were targeted on social media. Tell us how that day went from celebratory to scary for you.
MARTI GOULD CUMMINGS (GUEST): First of all, like you said, this is historic legislation to help protect LGBTQ families and interracial families. But it is just one step in the road, like the President said. We have to pass the Equality Act, we have to ensure that we are fully codifying marriage rights because oftentimes couples, if they are traveling, or if they are not able to get married in their state even though it is being recognized under this legislation, a lot of couples can't afford to travel to another state to get married. Like you said, after the invitation there was an onslaught of hate that came up. This is something that we are seeing happening on the rise in this country. Meta and Twitter are not doing anything to help combat this. We have seen a 1200 percent increase in the word groomer, the slur groomer on Twitter. I am grateful to have the support and guidance of GLAAD, a great organization working on these issues. But that online rhetoric is dangerous, just the other day the House Committee held a hearing on how online hate against LGBTQ people is transferring to real life. We saw it in Colorado, in 47 states we have seen 150 different attacks and protests at drag shows. What just happened today in New York City today, in Chelsea, a couple of hours ago where protesters showed up to a line break. So the online rhetoric is now coming into the real world.
SANDERS: The online rhetoric has always, it has always been connected to what is happening in the real world, and I think that point is so important, and the committee that you talked about, the hearing that was held, the juxtaposition of the bill signing, and then the the day after the House Committee on Oversight and Reform highlighting the rise in violence and threats against the LGBTQ+ community, it was just a lot. It was a lot. As of December 12th of this year, there were 141 incidents of LGBTQ+ protests and threats targeting specific drag events. Just in the United States, and you noted that there was one in Chelsea today. What effect has this had on you and your fellow drag artists?
CUMMINGS: Well, I think that we have to look at what happened at Pulse in Colorado Springs, a community that is still reeling. I hope people go to their GoFundMe page and help them. But it is a real danger. I think a lot of performers and people who go out are scared because of this. And also, when you have a drag story hour, which is a positive event, a positive way to teach kids the value of acceptance, and love, and education, but they are twisting it, using old talking points saying drag artists are groomers, and pedophiles, which is not true, we have never seen it get harmed on a drag story our. The real harm comes when grown adults show up with guns outside screaming as families walk in. This rhetoric is dangerous, and the pundits who’re talking about it on networks like Fox and Breitbart, the politicians like Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene who are forcing this negative agenda, it is leading their followers to act out in violent ways. Words like groomer against queer people, those are tropes from the past. We have let that go. 71% of Americans support marriage equality, 21% of Gen Z identifies as LGBTQIAI+. The reality is, as they see people’s rights being recognized, they are running with fear. The GOP, the right-wing, they don't have a platform so their platform is to elevate hate.