How local trans, drag commuity is dealing with fear and threats of violence

ByWendy Daughenbaugh WPVI logo
Thursday, June 22, 2023
How local trans, drag commuity is dealing with threats of violence
We speak with some locals about how they are dealing with the threats facing the drag and trans community, both physically and legislatively.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For Tiffany Uma Mascara, performing drag is a huge part of her identity.

While Philadelphia feels welcoming, she says she worries about the hundreds of anti trans laws that have been introduced nationwide just in 2023, saying "it's something that really shakes me to my core."

A few weeks ago, Tiffany says, she and some friends were attacked by a group of young adults, throwing glass bottles at them, saying slurs and threatening their lives.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least nine trans people have been murdered in America this year.

Brad Windhauser, LGBT Studies Program Coordinator at Temple University, says anytime there's a lot of progress for a marginalized group, there's always intense backlash

He says misinformation and harmful rhetoric from our leaders creates fear in the broader community.

Tiffany feels Black and Brown trans women are particularly at risk.

It was people of color who helped take the art of drag mainstream when the ball scene started in 1920s Harlem.

At the time, Windhauser says the performances were not considered deviant and were, in fact, embraced. A century later, he says that kind of mainstream visibility, whether in drag shows, movies and television or books, is key for acceptance.

For Tiffany, it's about basic human rights. "We are people," she says, "we deserve to go ahead and be able to live and succeed.

Tiffany Uma Mascara | Instagram

Performing June 22, 9 p.m.-midnight

Franky Bradley's | Instagram

1320 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107