On July 1, four drag queens calling themselves The Liberty Belles will begin a 10-week, 20 state, 33 city bus tour in order to register 10,000 new voters between ages 18 and 30. They’re hoping to increase young voter turnout in states with political races featuring LGBTQ candidates and candidates of color.
The Liberty Belles — a Portland, Oregon-based group that consists of drag queens Madame DuMoore, Pepper Pepper, Carla Rossi and Hydrangea Strangea — are a registered non-profit organization that will put on a one-hour USO-style show featuring art, comedy, music and drag.
The USO stands for the United Service Organizations, a non-profit that provides live entertainment to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
According to Willamette Week, the show’s plot will be “a time-traveling journey from drag queen retirement into the Trump era as [the Belles] help the nation rediscover political empathy.” In addition to the four drag queens’ onstage antics, The Liberty Belles will also pay local queers and artists of color in every town they go to perform as well, as a way to highlight local talent.
“[In the show] we talk about the pitfalls of our democracy and the effectiveness of social media propaganda,” Pepper wrote on her Instagram page. “Mostly, it’s a show about empathy and connecting with people who are different than you.”
The Liberty Belles will also coordinate with local “get out the vote” organizations to help build an audience. Their hope is to register voters who’ll take part in the party primaries and future races.
However, in order to conduct their tour, The Liberty Belles are fundraising $200,000 to $500,000 to rent a tour bus, buy equipment for a multimedia show, and a living wage for the performers — to donate head here. They’re also seeking sponsorships from companies and corporations who want to reach 18 to 30-year-olds through drag.
“Politically, I’ve never been super engaged. So this is a good opportunity for me to put the work in to really understand where I stand on different agendas and topics,” said Strangea. “I’m going to disagree with people, but I’m excited to see what connections can be made.”