The recent move of Rupaul's Drag Race from Logo to VH1 has allowed for the art of drag to exist in places where it could seldom be found before—in the homes of straight cis people. The queer community has had its eye on drag performers for many decades, and it seems straight people have finally caught up.
Unfortunately, many cishet viewers lack the context needed to really appreciate the art. They may have a lack of experience with queer culture, they may not understand the important roles so many queer performers play in visibility and activism, and that simply existing in public spaces is an act of bravery and resistance for many queer people.
Stuck in a binary system of thought, many of these viewers and audience members need something more than a gag-worthy lip synch, they need an education.
This could be said for many members of the queer community as well.
We need public figures in our community that discuss issues of oppression and identity; that remind us to challenge the image of gay that is a white hunk who thinks eating ass is kinky and who doesn’t know the difference between asexual and intersex.
Many Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race are taking it upon themselves to start these conversations, and provide positive examples for our community.
Katya Zamolodchikova is a fountain of experience, knowledge, and improv. Her thought process is an amazing one to follow, and is conveniently followable through social media. Katya shares her thoughts on race, hook ups, mental illness, addiction, masculinity, love, straight men, and having sex with paper towels, to name a few. You can find some of her random rants here.
My favorite quote from a Katya rant?
This relatable jewel: “I don't fuck with stupid straight guys, and you know what that means? That means i care about myself.”
YASSSSSSSS it does bitch, yas it does.
Bob the Drag Queen is no stranger to sharing her opinion. As an activist and a drag queen, Bob was arrested for protesting marriage equality in New York State, something She spent many hours doing. In an interview with Queerty, Bob recounts that she “would do drag queen mock weddings in Times Square every Saturday from noon to four, about 12 to 20 weddings a day.” This happened every Saturday for a full year, Bob adds the she would “hand out information about the inequality that queer people faced.”
More like equality first.
Throughout season nine, Sasha Velour has had a lot to say, and everything that has come from her mouth has been nothing short of gold.By speaking her thoughts on things like the tragedy at Pulse, gender, and mental health (to name a very few), Sasha’s time on Drag Race seems to have permanently branded her, and appropriately so, as a deeply intellectual queen with a passion for social justice.
Sasha knows how to combine fashion, comedy, and genius - and continues to freely express her looks and thoughts in her drag magazine, Velour.
Laganja Estranja has made a name for herself as the drag queen of cannabis, and she's using that name to create positive change. In an interview with LA Weekly, she discusses how she is working to advocate for Queer inclusivity in the cannabis industry. She has hosted multiple conversations on marijuana legalization from Trinity College to RuPaul’s DragCon, and even became the first Queer person to be on the cover of Dope Magazine.
She even teaches marijuana based dance classes.
In a short but impactful interview with NBC, Violet Chachki discusses the privilege of being able to pass, and how lacking such privilege impacted her childhood and identity. She goes on to discuss the lack of representation of Gender Fluidity, and how the pressure to pass can force gender fluid people into a binary.
Violet concludes her interview by talking about the beauty of androgyny, something her existence represents every day.
Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hills had the strength to stand up to an Icon in the queer community in order to challenge Transphobia.
Common sense tells us that since RuPaul is not Trans, she doesn't get to use trans slurs or determine what is transphobic. It is very important, then, for trans people to have their voices heard; not only to be a part of conversations around equality and gender, but to be empowered to lead those conversations.
Staying true to themselves and their experiences on the show, Carmen and Monica publicly addressed the use of transphobic slurs on RuPaul's Drag Race, advocating for a positive change in the way the show discusses gender and portrays Trans people. Summarizing will do no justice; here it is straight from the source, Huffington Post.
Peppermint has proven herself to not only be a kind hearted queen and amazing performer, but a trailblazer as well. She openly talks about her experience as a Trans woman and a drag queen on Drag Race, and even did an interview with Huffington Post.
When asked about the intersections between drag performance and Trans identity, Peppermint responded, “I think the simplest way to put it is in the words of Monica Beverly Hillz who so bravely came out in season five of Drag Race, that 'Drag is what I do and trans is who I am.'”
She offers advice to Trans and Gender NonConforming people thinking about competing on Drag Race: “Whether you see an example of yourself or not, you will be that person.”
Peppermint is serving as an amazing example for Trans performers who may feel alone, simply by living her tooth.
You know what I mint.