Pollo Del Mar Says Drag Bans Are Limiting Opportunities To Work In Wrestling

The increasingly politicized nature of drag performances and other staples of LGBTQ+ entertainment have led to various local and state legislatures passing bills banning gender-bending performances. One such state is Tennessee, where a new law was signed last month before it was blocked by a federal judge in Memphis. While the law is temporarily blocked, the restrictions are just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the increasingly hostile response towards drag from conservatives and have a ripple effect that stretches from the cabaret to the wrestling ring.


The art of drag is central to the character of Pollo Del Mar, a popular manager on the independent scene and in the National Wrestling Alliance. Pollo has already found herself facing issues getting bookings in Tennessee and other states where similar laws have been passed. Del Mar describes herself as a "peacekeeper" but had to draw her own line in the sand over the new laws.

"Literally who I am and what I do has been politicized," Del Mar said on "The Sessions with Renée Paquette."

'Overcome' With Sadness

Pollo Del Mar recounted when the Tennessee law first passed. She was working with the NWA "surrounded by people I love that I've been working with for almost a year, we have a very good time together," when she received a text message about the law's passage.


"I left that super supportive environment, went upstairs to my hotel room and I cried and I prayed," Del Mar said, explaining that she needed outside guidance to help overcome the initial fear.

Del Mar said she was "overcome" with sadness over the news, and that she's still trying to "pull [herself] out" of that low feeling.

"I've lived a lifetime wanting to be able to do what I'm doing at this very moment," Pollo explained, saying that working in the business and even talking about professional wrestling with Renee was "a dream come true" for the manager.

Pollo went on to mention that the NWA – one of her biggest supporters – tapes a lot of their television in Nashville, Tennessee: "a place that has chosen that by my existence I'm a danger to somebody's child."


Frustrating at a minimum...appalling at a maximum

Del Mar says it felt like a "big rug" was pulled out from under her feet "to have the process of your dreams evaporating." Del Mar calls it "frustrating at a minimum" and "appalling at a maximum" as the wording of the legislation is vague, which is the same issue Memphis Federal Judge Thomas Parker raised when blocking the law on March 31, which would allow abuses and misinterpretations of the legislation. Del Mar gave an example of traffic laws, which are easy to follow because they have a set limit (often 65 mph) instead of an "acceptable limit" which would be a subjective measurement to each driver. According to Del Mar, the legislation has already "defined" Del Mar's ability to work.


"I had opportunities presented to me in numerous southern states and they've suddenly evaporated because of this conversation." Del Mar says she doesn't blame promoters, as the vague nature of the legislation in various states could cause serious repercussions for their ability to do further business. Despite prominently featuring Del Mar, the NWA has yet to comment on the legislation, as NWA President Billy Corgan was busy promoting last month's World Is A Vampire Festival in Mexico City.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "The Sessions" with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.