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San Francisco Launches First-Ever Drag Laureate Program

One lucky Drag performer will earn $55k to serve as an ambassador for SF
By - posted 11/16/2022 No Comment

Mayor London N. Breed just announced the launch of the application for San Francisco’s first-ever Drag Laureate program. The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) will provide the chosen artist with a $55,000 stipend over the course of the 18-month term to support their work and community engagement. The program was first announced in June as part of Mayor Breed’s then-proposed two-year budget. Since passing, a working group comprised of City departments and community partners have been developing eligibility criteria and requirements for the new position.

The Drag Laureate will embody San Francisco’s historic, diverse and inclusive drag culture, elevating the entire community on the national and international stage. Those who want to apply to be the City’s first Drag Laureate should apply by January 16, 2023. After applications close, a vetting committee made of representatives from City Departments and community groups will review the applications and bring finalists to Mayor Breed who will make the final selection.

“San Francisco’s commitment to inclusivity and the arts are the foundation for who we are as a city,” said Mayor Breed. “Drag artists have helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ rights and representation across our city, and they are a part of what makes our City so special. Investing in programs that continue their legacies and create opportunities for the next generation of drag performers to thrive help us to celebrate our city and this community. I want to thank the drag community, Human Rights Commission, and Public Library for their work, and I look forward to crowning San Francisco’s first Drag Laureate.”

Some responsibilities of the Drag Laureate of San Francisco include:

  • Helping develop and promote the role of the Drag Laureate
  • Serve as spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ Community of San Francisco
  • Participate in community-based Drag programs and events that reflect and honor the diversity of San Francisco
  • Partner in an official capacity with various city agencies and community organizations throughout the full 18-month term, including during Pride Month
  • Produce Drag-centered events and programming centered on celebrating and supporting San Francisco’s dynamic and diverse LGBTQ+ community in collaboration with San Francisco Public Library, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the San Francisco Arts Commission and community partners
  • Ensure San Francisco’s rich drag history is shared, honored, and preserved
  • Help promote and select the next Drag Laureate towards the completion of their 18-month term

In order to qualify, applicants must submit a written and video application and be able to demonstrate and meet the following requirements:

  • Be a full-time resident of the City and County of San Francisco
  • Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age by the application deadline
  • Have fundamental knowledge of San Francisco Drag History
  • Show enthusiasm and love for San Francisco and demonstrate the ability to serve as its ambassador
  • Have a background in Community Activism, Engagement, and Philanthropy
  • Ability to work collaboratively with wide range of people from various backgrounds
  • Able to organize, produce and manage events/projects from start to finish

The vetting committee helping to select the Drag Laureate is made up of various City Agencies including the Human Rights Commission (HRC), Library, Entertainment Commission, Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts (GFTA), Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI), and the HRC LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee in collaboration with community partners including individuals affiliated with or part of the Transgender District, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Castro Cultural District, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits, Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco, Imperial Court of San Francisco, Drag Story Hour, Rebel Kings of Oakland, GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), and more.

“I can’t think of any other city with a drag community more talented, diverse, inclusive and exciting than San Francisco,” said Sister Roma. “As a member of the Drag Laureate vetting committee I’m relying on my 35 years of experience as a drag activist, fundraiser, public speaker, event producer and entertainer to present Mayor Breed with the very best candidates to represent our city.”

The idea for a drag laureate program stemmed from San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy, a community-driven effort to honor the legacy, nurture the well-being, promote economic opportunity, and ensure the longevity of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community. Then Supervisor Scott Wiener sponsored the ordinance to create the LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Task Force. The taskforce identified the needs and concerns of the LGBTQ+ community, articulated critical goals to address these needs, and presented a set of recommended actions to be undertaken by the City and local organizations.

Read more at the Office of the Mayor