Want to Understand L.G.B.T.Q. Life in America? Go to Alabama

Lydia Polgreen in The New York Times:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It was an unusually chilly Thursday night in December, and a drag queen named Miss Majesty Divine was putting the final touches on her show makeup. She was about to go onstage for her regular gig at a basement tiki bar, one of the last performances before Christmas. Up at street level, two unwelcome guests had arrived. They were not fans. They were men with bushy beards, one holding a bullhorn, the other a placard that depicted a drag queen holding a screaming baby and the hashtag #stopdragqueenstoryhour. “Repent, you filthy dog! You are going to burn in hell!” the one with the bullhorn shouted. “God sent AIDS to deal with people like you!” Madge, as she is known to her friends and adoring fans, was unfazed. “I teach math to middle schoolers,” Madge deadpanned. “You think I haven’t been called some things?”

By the end of the next workday, Madge, who in the classroom was known as Mr. James Miller, would call himself something new: retired. In the middle of the school year, the teacher, 52 years old, abruptly put in his papers. His career was over. “It’s funny — all these people who complain about cancel culture, and now they are trying to cancel my whole existence,” Madge told me. Miller’s troubles began on Oct. 12, when the conservative social media account known as Libs of TikTok, which specializes in finding and spreading videos, often out of context, of supposedly outrageous liberal behavior, posted an edited video of him performing in drag as Madge at charity events, some of which had children in attendance.

More here.