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Drag Queens Belong at Weddings! Protect LGBTQ+ Ministers & Wedding Performers

Published Tuesday, Apr. 4th, 2023

Photo: Pixie Aventura poses with happy newlyweds. Pixie is an AMM Minister, wedding officiant, and drag performer living in NYC

Drag Performers, Wedding Officiants, and the Rights & Safety of Our Ministers



Hallelujah! A federal judge has placed a temporary 14 day restraining order on the discriminatory ‘drag ban’ that was scheduled to go into effect in Tennessee on April 1st. This means that the law can’t be enforced for at least 14 days, and potentially longer if the order is extended. 


That's fantastic news, but the risk isn’t over for Tennesseans, or for LGBTQ+ folks in many other states where similar legislation has passed or is still being considered. 




Prince Powderpouffe performs a wedding ceremony for a happy couple

Wedding Officiant Prince Powderpouffe (aka Officiant Eric Strauss of Your Royal Wedding Officiant)

Photo: @yourroyalweddingofficiant ,



Some background...


As written, Tennessee's new law would make it illegal for drag performances to take place on public property or in view of children, regardless of the performance’s content or context. (The law doesn’t use the word ‘drag’ but refers to ‘male and female impersonators.’) This includes appearances at wholesome family-oriented Drag Queen Story Hours and Pride parades… and even weddings.


The law also puts transgender and gender nonconforming folks at increased risk of discrimination and violence by using intentionally vague language.



"It's ... this subtle and sinister way to further criminalize just being trans." - Henry Seaton, The ACLU of Tennessee (via NPR)


“I’m way more concerned about how this drag ban is really a Trans ban veiled as such. That’s what’s really terrifying about it.” - Apostrophe, The Clown Witch of New Orleans



What's next and why we're speaking up...


Thankfully, this law is currently unenforceable: U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker issued a temporary injunction on Thursday during a hearing for a lawsuit filed by Friends of George's, a Memphis-based LGBTQ+ theater group. Parker stated in his decision that the law is unconstitutionally vague if people of “common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.” (via Tennessee Bar Association)


But Parker’s order is temporary, and similar laws have been introduced or passed in at least 14 other states, including Arizona, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. 



At American Marriage Ministries (AMM), our focus is always on marriage equality, and the rights of our ministers and the couples they marry. This includes the safety and well-being of AMM Ministers who officiate weddings in drag, and all our trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming ministers.


Let’s be clear: Drag performers belong at weddings! The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ ministers and wedding officiants (and all LGBTQ+ people) must be protected.


‘Drag bans’ and anti-trans legislation endanger our ministers and hurt the queer community. And they violate the rights of couples who want to include drag performances in their sacred wedding celebration – as emcee acts, reception performers, and ordained wedding officiants. 


Drag performers are beloved and essential members of the LGBTQ+ community, and have been for centuries. They'll continue to be a source of support and joy for centuries to come – including at weddings!


Just see for yourself!



Officiant & Performer Eric Strauss as Prince Powderpouffee performs wedding ceremonies at Pride in NYC


Officiant & Performer Eric Strauss as Prince Powderpouffee performs a wedding ceremony at Pride in NYC

Wedding Officiant & Performer Prince Powderpouffe (aka Officiant Eric Strauss)

Photos : @yourroyalweddingofficiant ,




Officiant & Drag Performer Cherri, aka Andy Althoff-Burrows helps two newlyweds sign the marriage license


Officiant & Drag Performer Cherri, aka Andy Althoff-Burrows, collage of two images of wedding ceremonies

Wedding Officiant & Performer Cherri (aka Officiant Andy Althoff-Burrows of All Love Weddings) / 

Photos (top and bottom left) by @hoyinsiuphotography / Photo (bottom right) by @carlyfrohlichphotography




Officiant & Drag King Performer Hank VanDickerson performs weddings in Alaska, two photos of Hank and newlyweds


Officiant & Performer Hank VanDickerson stands with newlyweds and their family outside in the snow following a wedding ceremony

Wedding Officiant & Drag King Performer Hank VanDickerson

Photos: @hankvandickerson




Two photos collaged of Officiant & Drag Performer Pixie Ventura with happy newlyweds


Pixie Ventura officiates a wedding, reading from the wedding ceremony script as guests smile happily

Wedding Officiant & Performer Pixie Aventura (aka Cesar)

Photos courtesy of Pixie @pixieaventura



“Living in NYC, I have a sense of security that it would be very difficult to ban Drag in my state, however, the fact that this conversation is being had in 2023 goes to show the fight will always exist… Our community has been in survival mode for all of its existence. I am proud of who I am and undoubtedly know my existence harms no one.” - Pixie Aventura, Drag Queen, AMM Minister & Wedding Officiant



Vestments of satin, spandex, and sequins


Drag queens and kings aren’t just entertainers. They’re also educators, protectors, and philanthropists. They raise money for queer health services, stand up for queer kids, advocate for inclusive legislation, and keep us smiling and snapping even when things look grim (like they do right now).


They also make fabulous wedding ministers! 



“Being a wedding officiant is the best thing I have ever been able to do as a drag performer. I get to share the best day of couples lives!” - Hank VanDickerson



And ministers in drag aren’t such a new thing, either. Hell, male clergy members have been wearing robes, gowns, and costume jewelry for centuries without anyone batting an eyelash.


What an ordained minister chooses to wear while officiating a marriage ceremony for members of their community is sacred. 


If that ends up being satin, spandex, or sequins? So be it! These become the vestments of a Queen. 


“The Art of Drag has always been an integral part of the entertainment industry as far back as the 1700s. So why is it a problem now? Well, perhaps it's because it was seen as comedy or satire, and it always came off at the end of a play or movie. Social standards have always persecuted minority groups and now that we have entered into a time of social justice, people's true nature has become more embraceable. 


With the more prominent visibility of the LGBTQAI+ community, conservative groups are stating that being queer is a trend, when in fact, we have always existed. Drag has always been a celebrated aspect of our community because it was the embodiment of self-expression and the freedom of existing. WE WILL NOT BE ERADICATED.” - Pixie Aventura, AMM Minister & Wedding Officiant



Take action: 

'Drag bans' and anti-trans legislation is dangerous and misguided. Consider donating to organizations that are helping to stop these laws, including ACLU Drag Defense Fund and ACLU of Tennessee.



Get ordained to officiate weddings… in drag or not!  


AMM is an inclusive, interfaith constitutional church that provides free online ordination for people all over the country, from all faiths and backgrounds. 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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