Hayley Kiyoko defies Tennessee law to include drag performance in her Nashville show

On May 1, 2023, Hayley Kiyoko, who Arts Sphere, Inc. has named as one of its "LGBTQ+ Heroes," included drag performers at her show in Nashville, Tennessee, defying the new Tennessee law that bans drag shows in public spaces, as well as orders from local law enforcement that she received during soundcheck before the show. Out Magazine explains:

Hayley Kiyoko is currently out on tour and bringing talented drag performers on stage with her — but that almost didn't happen at her recent Nashville, Tennessee concert when she was threatened with legal action.

After the state's Republican governor Bill Lee signed a bill banning drag from public property and venues accessible to minors, queer performers are starting to see the law being upheld.

Hayley posted on her Instagram after the incident:

The past 48 hours have been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. Our day off in Nashville we went to a drag show at @playnashville and I had the honor of being brought on stage. We then planned to have some fabulous queens join us during my show the next day. 

At soundcheck the day of, I was advised by local law enforcement that having a drag performance at my all ages show could result in legal action. They warned us to not bring any drag performers on stage. I was shattered as you can see in the videos I recorded reacting to the situation in real time before the show started.

I never want to put anyone in a position to be at risk or in danger in any way. But also where is the line of being silenced? How do we navigate these absurd threats and laws against our community? I find pride in making sure my concerts are safe places for ALL. How can I do that if we aren't allowed to be ourselves, especially at a predominantly queer concert? We deserve to have a safe space to be ourselves while we navigate the evil that is threatening our own existence. 

When the queens arrived it was about 10 minutes before the show. I was distraught and let them know what was communicated to us and our concerns. They showed no fear and said they wanted to continue with the show and come out on stage. So they did. 

Thank you @theladylibertea and @jivy85 for joining us last night. You looked radiant and truly inspire me.

We will not be silenced. We will find ways to continue to be our authentic selves, no matter what. We will not give up. No matter how hard they make it. I love you all so much.

Arts Sphere, Inc. provides more info about the musician:

Kiyoko's career initially started off as a child actor, but she is now most known for her unique electropop and synthpop music. Her music has been focused on her story and identity as a lesbian, starting with her breakout single "Girls Like Girls". Since coming out, Kiyoko has been a big advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and widely influential in the community, to the point of being considered a gay icon by her fans.