Thanks to none other than the fierce and fabulous RuPaul, drag is more popular than ever. RuPaul found success in the clubs and then worked her way up to an acting career, a music career, and even as a host of a talk show. Now RuPaul is over fifty years old has another on of her own shows. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is on its fifth season on Logo and is responsible for entertaining me almost every Monday night throughout the year. It is also responsible for pushing drag into the limelight.
Reality television shows are by no means revolutionary, but the contest to crown the next drag superstar is in a league of its own. This show has everything packed into it! It’s got glamour, humor, drama up the wazoo, heart-wrenching subject matter, and, of course, half-naked men gallivanting around in their underwear. Much to my dismay, all these men are gay. The only thing that drag race can’t do is find me a boyfriend, but I’m OK with that because it does so much more for me and the community.
Drag is still a touchy subject, especially for heterosexual males who still seem to have a hard time letting go of strict gender roles. It should not be, though. Drag is merely dress up for adults. It’s when men throw on a dress, some massive heels, and make up to entertain people. The only thing different from them doing it at age 25 instead of 5 is that they’re applying the make up themselves and not their older sister. Drag is not an abomination but an art form with a heart.
Drag has got a bigger heart than the Grinch at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I say this because it makes the world a better place. Drag tests us to accept what is different, what we once feared but should accept. Drag queens are not terrorists, but performers that can paint a face like no makeup artist on Rodeo Drive. They push us to accept a new normal, a world where gender is o.k. to make fun of and completely disregard.
Drag comes with its glitter and giggles and fierceness, of course! It’s an art form only few can pull of well, but each an every queen has her own unique backstory. Sharon Needles, the Avant-garde winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race fourth season, had a particularly tough story to tell. While in High school, the eccentric and homosexual Sharon (birth name Aaron Coady) was verbally harassed and beaten up by classmates on countless occasions. The school did nothing to protect the future superstar. Instead they asked her to leave the school because she was a “distraction.”
Sharon did drop out of school, but she went on to be the most successful winner of Drag Race and now performs all around the world. I found this story especially upsetting because of how ridiculous it is. Every person in the country is entitled, in my opinion, to an education. The fact that a public school denied a student that right based on his personality and sexual orientation is outrageous and a clear violation of civil rights.
Sharon Needles showed all those bullies that made her life a living hell in her teens when she was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar in 2012. Drag allowed this spooky kid to grow into a fabulous woman who is taking the world by storm. I do not even know Miss Needles and, sadly, have never been to one of her shows, but seeing her success inspires me and I am so happy for her. Sharon faced adversity all her life and drag gave her the tools she needed to fight back at the bigots and the homophobes and the haters.
Other queens have heart-wrenching stories like Sharon’s. Drag has pulled several people out of depression and saved their lives in tough times. These stories make drag what it is. It is one of the toughest art forms to master, but the underlying inspiration for drag is what makes it so fabulous. Here are a bunch of gay men who are flipping society the bird. Not only are they homosexuals and don’t fit in to the traditional masculine mold, but they are men impersonating ladies. And they look damn good doing it, too! Drag is that weapon that the gay community has against all of the people who so greatly despise them. It is important to keep in mind that not every gay man is a drag queen, but every drag queen is a hero. And every man that puts on a dress and sashays down the street in stilettos is my hero. The only thing that upsets me is that some queens are actually more beautiful than myself. At least I get to bask in their glory.
Terri Bulan is a Writing for Film and Television major (WTF for short) and a Psychology minor. She enjoys long walks on the beach (seriously), puppies, nutella, & horror movies. Her writing inspiration comes from her intrinsic need to entertain people and thus tricking them into liking her and being her friends.