“Rupaul’s Drag Race” is so much more than a show. Since its 2009 debut on the Logo channel — now on VH1 — it has put forward some of the most iconic drag queens in America. Along the way, the queens open up about how they got into drag, what it means to them and the challenges they have faced — it is more than just tea being silt and drama in the workroom.
This show has provided a powerful media outlet that LGBTQ people can identify with. The show isn’t catered to them, it’s about them. It provides a human focus on the lives of a wide variety of performers and how they’ve changed in response to hardship. While there is a fiercely competitive attitude, the queens have opened up to their competitors about experiences with homophobia, transphobia, racism, drug use and other issues that have affected their lives. By giving them the ability and setting to discuss their issues, they provide a dialogue to the public about how it still affects themselves as well as others.
Another aspect of the show is the talent. While there have been many famous LGBTQ actors, performers and athletes, drag is a competition all in its own that is rooted in LGBTQ culture. It stands out as its own performance art and competitive spirit, which provides LGBTQ performers an outlet that has an inherently ingrained attitude of acceptance and expressiveness. Not to mention, the performance is a challenge in and of itself own, and with drags rising popularity it seems that the community of performers is swelling, along with their visibility.
I cannot express enough how much I love this show, because it has so much to offer to all of us. This past year, school, work and my personal life were overwhelming and stressful. There’s something comforting and affirming that this show really delivers not just for me, but for many: if a man in a wig can confront his fears, confide in others about his struggles and present his talents without apology, the rest of us will be just fine.