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Local drag personality issues apology for racist behavior
by Matt Simonette
2020-06-16

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Drag performer and entertainment producer T Rex issued an apology June 16, and agreed to a town hall meeting this weekend, after being called out for racist behavior by members of Chicago's Black drag queen community.

"I owe an apology to the drag community of Chicago for the ways in which my shows have upheld a standard rooted in white privilege," said T Rex in the statement issued on social media. "I've spent most of my career as the one holding the microphone and yet it wasn't obvious to me that other people don't feel heard—a privilege that I have willfully and blissfully ignored."

T Rex, who hosts Drag Matinee performances at Berlin, among other endeavors, had been given 72 hours to respond to several allegations listed in a statement issued by several dozen drag personalities. Their statement said: "You have abused your power and you've helped perpetuate racism through Boystown by reducing all people of color to tokens for your personal gain. You've based the value of our art off winning your competition. You've used influence to push multiple people out of the scene who've made mistakes. … You have taken a position of power in an art form you rarely practice, and it is time you make space for others."

Among the demands issued were that Drag Matinee performances be hosted by a Black performer in a bi-weekly trade-off; that more Black talent be engaged overall; and that T Rex attend a digital town hall meeting with representatives from the Berlin and Roscoe's nightclubs.

"These demands are not made to make you feel bad," the statement concluded. "These demands are for a better future and relationship with your community."

T Rex agreed to attend the forum, as well as to no longer dictate song or outfit selection, along with all the other demands issued by the performers.

"I am committed to lending my voice and privilege to create change in the environments that I work in and to hold myself and others accountable," she said. "The secrecy that previously allowed me complete control over shows will not continue. These shows are intended to benefit and spotlight the entire community, so I must open the doors and admit my inherent racism as a white person [and] my inherent racial bias and privilege, and commit going forward to not just include diversity in my shows, but empower, uplift and and share my seat of power with others."


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