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Fighting Drag Bans? Listen to BenDeLaCreme & Lessons From a Gay Bar Massacre

Fighting Drag Bans? Listen to BenDeLaCreme & Lessons From a Gay Bar Massacre

Fighting Drag Bans? Listen to BenDeLaCreme & Lessons From a Gay Bar Massacre
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BenDeLaCreme is a guest onThe Fire UpStairs podcast to discuss how the history of the UpStairs Lounge arson attack is still relevant today.

June 24 marked the 50th anniversary of the UpStairs Lounge Fire, an arson attack on a gay bar that claimed 32 lives in 1973. Although it’s been half a century since the attack, the political landscape concerning the LGBTQ+ community still feels eerily similar to the 1970s. Queer spaces are under attack today with drag bans popping up across the country. And with the political assault on LGBTQ+ people still happening, it’s hard not to see the UpStairs Lounge Fire as an isolated event that won’t happen again.

In the newly released third episode of a new podcast miniseries The Fire UpStairs, host Joey Gray is joined by international drag superstar BenDeLaCreme to zoom out from the actual attack to discuss these similarities and how they’re affecting the LGBTQ+ community. In this episode, BenDeLaCreme shares why queer spaces are important – especially how vital they are to fostering community – as well as how drag bans are so insidious to disrupting the LGBTQ+ community.

As a drag artist, BenDeLaCreme understands how drag, even more so today, is its own form of rebellion, and that it’s a way to pass down culture from one generation to the next. While promoting the podcast, the drag legend shared why discussing this history is so integral to strengthening the LGBTQ+ community and creating a sense of identity.

“It's really exciting and important that you are telling this story,” BenDeLaCreme tells Gray. “Our history is word of mouth. Our history is campfire storytelling, and I am really grateful for the people within the community who are carrying this torch.”

The Fire UpStairs is carrying the torch on, sharing the story of how the attack happened and the history behind it. Joined by notable members of the queer community, Gray will continue discussing the UpStairs Lounge arson attack and the state of LGBTQ+ rights today.

As the episode ends, BenDeLaCreme shares that we have to continue fighting and continuing the work of the queer generations before us. Listen to the full episode and learn about the history that we will continue to learn to ensure it never happens again.

The Fire UpStairs is executive produced by Ryan Killian Krause. The first three episodes of The Fire Upstairs are now available on iHeart. Listen to the third below.

Guests on The Fire Upstairs include author Robert Fieseler, Cathryn Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign, journalist Clancy Dubos, political strategist Brian Derrick, and documentarian Robert L. Camina.

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