Some of America’s best-known drag queens are taking on extra security measures such as armed guards and metal detectors at shows after the mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado last month, according to a report.

Yvie Oddly, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race reality TV competition in season 11 and a Colorado native, told NBC News her management company said to her this week that they had asked for more security staff to guard her shows and will check the audience for firearms.

“It is unfortunate that the world has come to this, but your safety and that of the communities you visit is the priority,” the company told her in an email.

Jinkx Monsoon, a two-time Drag Race winner, said she had brought on armed security staff to guard her since the massacre at Club Q in Colorado Springs, which was holding a Drag Divas night when a gunman burst in.

The death toll of five could have been higher had two patrons not brought down the suspect, while others helped subdue him or cared for grievously wounded friends. The attack led to fresh calls for greater gun safety in the US.

“We’re trying to smile and make people happy for the holidays, and in the back of our heads we’re thinking, ‘I hope I don’t get shot,’” Monsoon told NBC.

She was already stepping up security before this latest massacre, which came six years after one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history: the killing of 49 people at the Pulse LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

NBC spoke to some of the most wellknown drag queens in the US, who explained that escalating attacks on the drag scene, via physical attacks, political rhetoric and laws passed by prominent figures, had dampened their effervescent stage personas.

Even as Congress prepares to pass legislation codifying same-sex marriage in the US with bipartisan support, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a terrorism advisory bulletin earlier this week that targets of potential violence include “the “LGBTQI+ community”.Drag has been an art form for centuries but became more popular after transgender people and drag queens played a central role in the Stonewall uprising and riots in New York City, which launched the modern gay rights movement in the US.

‘We gotta keep fighting and yelling’: New York drag queens on the legacy of Stonewall – video

Latrice Royale, who has been doing drag for three decades, opined that the explosion in popularity of drag through TV competition shows, with RuPaul’s show inspiring spin-offs in 16 other countries, had made the culture a target.

“Back in the day, before drag was so mainstream and on every television channel and all of the media and daytime, we were underground,” Royale, 50, told NBC.

Now, drag brunches and story hours at libraries are popular – but also under attack.

Drag queen Alaska said she had tightened security around her shows and that police patrol cars had stationed themselves nearby to watch for trouble.

“It’s mortifying that we even have to think about these things for something as joyous and celebratory as a drag show. Why do we have to be worried about where the exits are and where a safe route to get to safety is? It’s terrifying, but that’s the reality of it,” she told NBC.