Daniel Scheinert rebuked the growing number of anti-drag laws emerging in the US and accepted the Oscar for Best Director Everything everywhere at once.
As Mr. Scheinert took the stage with his co-director Daniel Kwan during the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday night, he said: “We want to dedicate this to the Mamas. To our moms. Specially to my mum and dad.”
“Thank you for not stifling my creativity when I was making disturbing horror films or kinky comedy films or dressing in drag as a kid, which poses no threat to anyone,” he added emphatically.
There was huge applause and cheers from the audience, and Twitter users were quick to voice their approval, dubbing it the “speech of the evening.”
However, it was also pointed out that he was the only one defending drag performances on stage during the ceremony at a time when they were being attacked nationwide.
On February 23, the Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives passed legislation banning “adult-oriented” entertainment from public lands in a bid to combat drag performances in the state.
The bill – which also restricts so-called “adult-oriented” entertainment to venues for those 18 and older – will now be sent back to the state Senate for further voting before it is expected to make it to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.
The bill’s author, Rep. Chris Todd, introduced the bill after a long public dispute over a Pride drag show in Jackson. He claimed the drag show was “child abuse” and called his bill a “healthy child safety bill.”
It is unclear on what grounds Mr Todd classified drag performances, in which people participate voluntarily, as child abuse.
The bill is another in a series of anti-LGBT+ laws that have been introduced and passed in states across the country in recent years.
Many in the LGBT+ community had hoped for a more outspoken stance from Hollywood in defense of drag and trans issues, which has also come under attack from the American political right in many states.
Both celebrities and companies posing as community allies have been urged to fight back in the face of these attacks
Still, people were glad drag was defended in front of a global audience on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.
Everything everywhere at once won Best Picture.