Gay Desert Hot Springs

Organizers of Drag4Drag rally hope their loud, proud, colorful message is heard across the nation

Posted on April 2, 2023

“We have a voice, and we want our message to get to Tennessee and Kentucky and all the other places that are saying that drag is somehow bad for children.” By the outstanding journalist MARK TALKINGTON ● EVENTS ● APRIL 2, 2023

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Palm Springs drag performers and others raised funds for a planned April 18 rally last week during an event at Hunter’s on Arenas Road.

Organizers of an event later this month have no doubt their message will be well-received locally, so they’re focused on assuring it will be loud enough to reach the rest of the nation.

“It’s unlikely these types of laws will come up in California,” said Christopher Durbin, a former Mr. Palm Springs Leather, last week. “But we have a voice, and we need to use it to tell others they are not alone.”

Durbin, along with Lauren Wolfer, a member of the Desert Stonewall Democrats Steering Committee, arrived separately at the same conclusion earlier this month after seeing drag performers come under increased fire from conservative lawmakers: If it can happen in one American state, it can happen in others, including here in Palm Springs, considered holy ground for the drag community.

“As the law in Tennessee was moving along, it was a huge wakeup call that drag shows could be banned,” Wolfer explained last week. “Especially in Palm Springs, where that’s the last thing you would think would happen.”

“I was sitting at the table having coffee and surfing through social media and getting more and more angry at what I saw,” recalled Durbin. “I just kept thinking, ‘What if?’”

With similar feelings and concerns bubbling up throughout the Palm Springs drag community, Durbin and Wolfer had an idea: What if performers and their fans in Palm Springs could somehow let their counterparts see them and know they have allies in the fight against discriminatory laws? The Drag4Drag Rally, planned for April 18 at 5 p.m. at the base of the “Forever Marilyn” statue downtown, is the answer to that question.

The rally, hosted by Bella da Ball, will feature live music, performances, and speeches. More importantly, organizers hope it will feature a crowd large enough to attract national media attention. “We really hope this will be huge,” Wolfer said.

If a March 30 fundraiser for signage and promotional needs is any indication, organizers could get their wish. Supporters of the drag community, along with local performers, packed Hunter’s on Arenas Road, helping raise thousands for the cause and send a warning to lawmakers. 

“We want our message to get to Tennessee and Kentucky and all the other places that are saying that drag is somehow bad for children,” Durbin said during the March 30 event. “These politicians want to behave like they’re doing something for children. If they truly are about helping children, they would be working on responsible gun laws.”



Mark first moved to the Coachella Valley in 1994 and is currently a Palm Springs resident. After a long career in newspapers (including The Desert Sun) and major digital news websites, he founded The Palm Springs Post in 2021.