DEE SNIDER says TWISTED SISTER “would not be allowed to perform in certain U.S. states due to drag laws"
In a new interview with 107.7 RKR‘s “Morning Show”, Dee Snider spoke about how his song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” has seen its fair share of political action in recent years. The track, which he which he recorded and released with TWISTED SISTER in 1984, has been adopted by everyone from Ukrainians using it as a battle cry to oppose Russia’s full-scale invasion, to anti-maskers, who chanted the song during a protest inside a Florida Target at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
“It’s very confusing right now,” Dee said. “I’ve got everybody from the extreme left to the extreme right and everybody in between using ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’. Which is cool to me, because I designed it that way. It was supposed to be, put your situation into the words of the song.
“Rolling Stone reviewed ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’. They said, ‘What? From Who?’ That was three words. I said, ‘That’s the point.’ It’s supposed to be… Is it your boss? Is it your girlfriend? Is it politics? Is it a strike, a picket line? Is it your parents? Whatever. Put your own situation in there. So that’s the way the song was meant to be used,” he explained. “But it’s crazy now with how extreme things have gotten. And you look at things, with laws being passed, and I clearly know my band would not be allowed to perform in those states anymore because we violate wearing women’s makeup and that violates the laws of what you can do in certain states. So it’s a strange new world.
This is not the first time Snider has expressed his confusion and anger about laws that limit where drag shows can be performed and who they can be performed for. In an interview two months ago with Yahoo! Entertainment, the rocker said bills passed by the Texas legislature would prohibit his gender-bending hair-metal band from performing in the Lone Star State.
“Let’s talk about the drag bans,” Dee said. “My band would not be allowed to perform in Texas. We would fall under that heading, the new rule, if they pass these rules — men wearing lipstick, nail polish and makeup. So, do I stand with the (LGBTQ+/drag) community? 100%. I heard the community has reached out about using ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ as their battle cry, and I said, ‘With my blessing, brothers and sisters! Go for it!’ I stand with them.”
He continued: “Look…. I was not gay, I was heterosexual, and I still had a lot of issues with a lot of people because I wore the things I wore in the ’70s and even into the ’80s. So, I’ve been on the receiving end. I get what they go through. I remember it so many times, how people would say, ‘You f***ing f***!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m just dressing up. You got a problem with that?’ … I had a lot of fights with people who didn’t like the way I expressed myself. So, I’m very in favor of free expression on every level. And I will stand with the community, if they ask me to stand with them. I am with them.”
In 2023 alone, over 450 bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights have been introduced by right-wing politicians into state legislatures across the country, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. That’s more than double the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced in the same legislative session in 2022.
The majority of the bills proposed this year aim to ban children from seeing drag performances, even though most drag shows take place at nightclubs and bars that already prohibit anyone under 21 from attending.
Last month, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed five anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law, one of which banned drag shows where children may be present.