Sorry fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I do not appreciate drag.
Literally, I do not have the appreciation necessary for the art of drag; for the massive amount of mental and physical creativity it must take to transform a plain Blaine into a Hornery de Ballsac (See? I really lack skill). Nevertheless, I respect it and anyone who would commit to it.
Recently, The Queen of Queens, RuPaul, whose “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is by far the biggest ambassador of drag to the larger world, came under scrutiny for saying in an interview with the Guardian:
“You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body. It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing. We’ve had some girls who’ve had some injections in the face and maybe a little bit in the butt here and there, but they haven’t transitioned.”1
Or, in short, no MTF contestants in transition welcome.
For a while, RuPaul had another drag show called “Drag U” which took presumably straight women and helped them transform into drag queens. Drag is an art form so I can easily understand taking a bored hausfrau and helping her become something larger than life. I can understand ANYONE wanting to transform into someone else, someone bigger than ordinary life, for a period of time. I am a minister-I understand the power of dressing up changing personae.
RuPaul describes drag as
“…a big f-you. So the idea of sticking to one identity – it’s like I don’t care, I’m a shapeshifter, I’m going to fly around and use all the colours, and not brand myself with just one colour.”2
So what would make him oppose MTF contestants? He answers:
“Drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it, because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.”3
I get RuPaul’s point. I think it is rooted in a culture he’s fought hard to preserve and protect; but ultimately I cannot reconcile the idea of a giant “identity f-you” with keeping anyone “out.” Cultures change, they evolve, they absorb other cultures; they grow or they die.
Since the interview with the Guardian, RuPaul has apologized for his comments, tweeting:
“Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience. I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBT movement. You are my teachers.”
I hope he’s genuine in his apology, and I hope that anyone who wants to do drag has the opportunity to do so, whether on a TV show or somewhere more local. Yaas, to ALL the kweens.
What do you think? Let us know on Twitter @GayBoyBible