Singer Hayley Kiyoko invited two drag queens to perform with her onstage despite purportedly receiving a legal action threat from an alleged “undercover cop” in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 32-year-old “For the Girls” singer recounted the “emotional roller coaster” she experienced in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
In her post’s caption, Kiyoko explained that she was invited onstage at Nashville’s Play Dance Bar while she was visiting the gay club during a day off from her current “The Panorama” tour.
After spending time at the club, Kiyoko, an advocate for and member of the LGBTQ+ community, decided to add drag performers to her Nashville show at Marathon Music Works on Monday.
According to Kiyoko, an “undercover cop” approached her on the day of her performance as she was preparing. The alleged officer purportedly claimed that having drag performers onstage during her all-ages show could “result in legal action.”
“We are trying to figure out if there is a workaround or what the situation is, but this is f*cked up. This is so f*cked,” she wrote. “I’m so sorry to my community and I’m just devastated. This is just not right. It’s not okay. And my heart just goes out to everyone navigating this.”
Tennessee’s state legislature passed Senate Bill 3 on March 22, a new law that would ban any form of “adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”
“Just as current law prohibits strip clubs from admitting children, this legislation would also prohibit sexually suggestive drag shows from being performed on public property, or on any non-age-restricted private property where a minor could be present,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R, TN-23) told NPR.
The newly passed bill, which is being referred to by many as an “anti-drag law,” was supposed to take effect on April 1, but a federal judge temporarily blocked it hours before it was set to go into effect. The restraining order on the bill is expected to expire on May 26.
In her Instagram post, Kiyoko mentioned her concerns regarding the safety and freedom of expression of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I find pride in making sure my concerts are safe places for ALL,” she wrote. “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.”
Despite the alleged threat, Kiyoko shares in her post that the two local drag performers she invited, LiberTea and Ivy St James, were not afraid.
“When the queens arrived it was about 10 minutes before the show,” she says. “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.”
“We will not be silenced,” the singer wrote in her post. “We will find ways to continue to be our authentic selves, no matter what. We will not give up.”
After Kiyoko posted her story on Instagram, a Nashville police spokesperson disputed her claims.
A recent email sent to CBS News stated that “we wouldn’t do this to begin with.”