GOP lawmakers are reimagined as AI-generated drag queens

The category is: the reality of the Republican drag queen.

As the age-old art form of pick-up has taken a surprisingly central role In modern America’s culture war, a couple of drag lovers decided to take a creative approach to their activism: a parody Instagram account dedicated to artificial intelligence-generated portraits of Republican leaders in drag.

“We’re big fans of drag, and we were witnessing anti-drag rhetoric and action from the GOP, and we wanted to do something about it, so we said, ‘Let’s put the GOP in drag'” , said Craig, who created the “RuPublicansInstagram account with her husband, Stephen. The men asked that their surnames not be published due to concerns for their personal safety.

The name of the account, which launched on March 30 and now has more than 95,000 subscribers, is a nod to “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, the popular drag racing show. The RuPublicans account has published portraits of 11 conservative heavy hitters so far, with each subject having their own distinctive style and, of course, a drag name. And while it might seem like these men each had their own glam crew on hand, the images were purely created by Craig, Stephen, and a text-to-image AI program called Midjourney.

“RuPublicans” creators Stephen, left, and Craig.Craig and Stephen

“Everything is generated without a photo that we capture,” Craig said. “I provide prompts on what I want to see in the photo – what’s in the background, what is the person wearing, how does it feel, like it fits into that level of specificity – then it spits out images, and you don’t’ You don’t always get what you want, and sometimes the AI ​​generator gives you something you never even imagined that just blows your mind , and you like to run with it.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – who made national headlines last year by signing his state’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill and engaging in a confrontation with the CEO of Walt Disney Co. – is among the Republicans who received a makeover. Her drag alter ego, “Rhonda Santy”, is shown in a trio of images, including one depicting her as a mean stepmother-type villain with Disney’s Magic Kingdom in the background.

An AI-generated image of Ron DeSantis.
An AI-generated image of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in drag.RuPublicans

“Rhonda Santy – Category is: Book Banning Princess Eleganza. She’s on a mission to turn this magical kingdom into a tragic one and isn’t afraid to give Mickey the finger(s),” it reads in the caption of the DeSantis parody images.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is portrayed as “Cruzella Deville” in five portraits, all of which include the conservative lawmaker in full face makeup, a blonde or pink wig and dazzling dresses.

“Cruzella Deville – In service to homophobic reality, she struts around in fur coats lined with family values ​​and defends every fetus and every gun,” reads the caption of the reimagining of Cruz, who recently said the Supreme Court was “clearly falsein his 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

Neither DeSantis nor Cruz immediately responded to a request for comment.

Rudy Giuliani (“Rudy Garland”), Lindsey Graham (“Lady Graham Cracker”) and Mike Pence (“Mother Pence”) are among other political figures who have been recast as drag queens by the RuPublicans account.

An AI-generated image of Lindsay Graham in drag.
An AI-generated image of Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., in drag.RuPublicans

While Craig and Stephen called their RuPublicans project “pure fantasy”, they said they hoped it could also serve as a platform for activism.

“We want it to be a platform for a message and show that drag really isn’t that scary,” Stephen said. “It makes you laugh and makes you think, and it’s not just for us and gay people. I hope a lot of Republicans will see this and be able to laugh at themselves too.

So far this year, Republican lawmakers in more than a dozen states have proposed bills aimed at restricting drag performances, according to an analysis by NBC News. Tennessee is the only state to sign such a bill. in the law.

While the photos have garnered thousands of responses since the account launched, one in particular had a big impact on Craig and Stephen, they said. The post came from a woman whose child attends The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, where just weeks ago a mass shooting left three children and three adults dead. The mother said she had her first laugh in weeks seeing the RuPublicans account.

“She had this beautiful message about the importance of what we do, and how much it has helped her,” Craig said. “So those are the types of things that fuel that and keep it going.”

“You know, there’s a lot of dark times we’re going through right now, and we just want to spread the brightness and the laughter and the levity, but also be really smart and poignant with it,” Stephen said.

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