‘Arizona Loves Drag’: Hundreds Protest Anti-LGBTQ Bills at Arizona Capitol

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Matt Hennie
More than 400 people rallied at the State Capitol on January 22 to protest against legislation targeting LGBTQ people, drag shows and pronouns. "We are here to defend our right to express ourselves as drag artists," said Noelle Canez, a drag king who performs as Daddy Satan. "We are also fighting for our right to bodily autonomy, and ultimately freedom."

Canez organized the rally with Radical Women Phoenix, which advocates for social, economic, and reproductive justice. The event took place on the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in June 2022. "Together we are powerful," Radical Women's Susan Massey told the crowd.

A host of speakers criticized the legislation and its sponsors, Republican state Senators John Kavanagh and Anthony Kern. Some were blunt: "Fuck this," said Jeanne Woodbury, interim executive director of Equality Arizona.

Before the hour-long rally closed, Canez called both legislators and left them voice mails — each ended with "Arizona loves drag" — to the delight of the crowd. The protesters then marched around the Capitol complex in a line that stretched along Adams Street between 17th and 18th avenues and chanted, "Our bodies, our lives, our right to decide."

Read more of our coverage about anti-LGBTQ legislation in the Arizona Legislature.