RuPaul’s Drag Con is the uniting of queens from around the world to celebrate diversity, art, shade, and cuntiness! This is the fourth year running for the event and as has been true for the past years’ events, this one promises to be the best yet!
It’s like ChristmaHanaQwanzakah and the drag world is a flutter. And guess who’s going to be there this year?! ….. RuPaul!!! Oh yeah and Drag Queens Galore – I mean us, not the literal version, although, both are true… double entendre!
But we’re heading to the convention of the drags, the Los Angeles version. And we’d like to see who among you are going too. We’d also like to see who is paying attention to what we’re pushing out these days, so we’d like to run a bit of a raffle.
Our friends at DRAGS have just sent over a copy of their book and instead of keeping it like the greedy parts of us want to, we’re going to give it to one of you who shares this on social media outlets and then sends us some comments letting us see you “raise your hand”.
Alright, galoreans… do your stuff. We’ll see you at the CON!
In 2007, there was buzz around the drag community that RuPaul was shooting some kind of show in her garage for drag queens. I remember queens like Jewels talking about it after a Sunday Brunch drag show in Long Beach at Hamburger Mary’s (although it wasn’t called that at the time it was Mick & Mack’s). I remember thinking… “her garage?”
Fast forward to 2018 and the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race hosted by Emmy Award Winning RuPaul Charles, there is no doubt the Race has risen like a Phoenix or a penis (let’s get real, who knows about any other Phoenix than Season 3’s Phoenix O’Hara – who didn’t rise too far in the competition, unfortunately). But never would anyone have thought the Drag would have so greatly influenced mainstream media.
The problem with this influence is the responsibility that comes with it. A group who had previously been so looked over as “too-feminine”, “wannabe girls”, and even “trannies” had been given a stage much larger than they were used to being on. They were put in front of potentially billions of people. Anyone with access to a TV and eventually an internet connection could see what they said and did. Those who identified with their favorite queens were living on every word. “Throwing shade” “reading” “cutting a bitch’s wigs” while in a competition was the light they were seen in.
But what about the parts of drag that we don’t see? The charitable events drag queens attend and throw to raise money for kids, or those with HIV/AIDS, or any other great cause. The shows they put on at clubs that are near empty, but they’re up in that gig with the hopes of their event getting some exposure and gaining momentum. The hours they spend to get ready to make tips, or if they’re lucky $50 – $100 bucks. The messages of love, persistence, and inspiration they convey to their audience is ever present.
RuPaul calls Drag Race the “Olympics of drag” and tells the girls they need to bring their all when they’re on that show. The thing is, some of these girls have been grinding and pushing and going through the struggle for years and years.
The girls who haven’t been on that show or even other competitive drag shows like Dragula, don’t have the luxury of booking managers, recognition, thousands of followers on social media, and whatever else we deem as “success” in drag. In my opinion, they’ve been running a triathlon, an iron-man even, without so much as a medal at the end of the race. The Olympian has been going long before their appearance on the show.
While Drag Race, Dragula and shows like them, give the queens selected for the shows “success”, their responsibility to their audience and fans is an example of kindness, love, and caring for each other. The title gained as a “star of the show” is not a relief of responsibilities as a leader of the community. These queens must be mindful young people are watching, seeing mentors, role-models, and aspirations to be similar. The influence of Drag is awesome, let’s ensure the influence includes inclusivity, support, and encouragement. Remember where we come from.
Ours is a community that has been (and still is) judged, condemned, spat on, beat up, and even bombed all for loving who we love. There are enough external forces attempting to tear us down. Value each other. Value life. Value that people are struggling with things we cannot imagine struggling with. Be grateful for what you do have and be encouraging because when one of us is successful, we’re all successful.
Know that your success is our success, your voice is our voice, if you’re saying bad things, we’re saying bad things. If you’re threatening someone’s life over their opinion about your favorite drag queen, we’re threatening someone’s life. It’s not fair that we’re all judged by the actions of a few, but let’s make those actions positive ones. If we unite, be positive, and agree to disagree when we differ, we’ll be a beacon.
Everyone does it, you look at someone and in your mind, if something is off, you think, “oooh girl, no.” You walk around every day running into what might be considered a “hot mess.” And somehow you manage to internalize it, you push through and don’t say anything to their face because you don’t want to offend anyone. You were raised better than that, right?
But what happens when you’re behind the keys of a computer keyboard? What happens when you look online and see a queen get up in their gig and they’re living for themselves. In your mind, if you don’t like it, you say, “oooh girl, no.” But somehow, your manners and whatever you were raised to do right suddenly goes out the window. You go to the keys and type something so extreme and so hateful that the elders of your family would be ashamed of you.
You carry on about someone’s makeup, outfit or even their tuck as though the queen is attempting to win a prize from you in the amount of one hundred thousand dollas. You say, “Ew, gross, that hair is rachet, your makeup is terrible (thanks for that Alaska),” or worse, “that’s the ugliest… you should kill yourself.”
Why do you feel it necessary to say so much? Who made you the authority on what looks good and what looks bad? When someone has a specific look that you don’t get, does that make it wrong? Or are you simply uncultured and therefore undeserving of expressing that opinion?
Yes, we know, you love drag and RuPaul and any queen that was a finalist on RuPaul’s Drag Race because that is the only type of drag in the world… no! We share the photos of the queens we see because there’s more to drag than Mama Ru. She’s showing you that too. Look at the unconventional beauties she’s had on her show; Trixie Mattel, Milk, Jinkx, Sharon, Yara, Pandora Boxx (at the time) and of course Tammie Brown. All those queens are gorgeous, but when they brought their looks to the show it was seen as, “you’ll never make it, you don’t have the look.”
They’re unique and they have made a huge impact on the drag world. They have spin off shows, they have traveled the world, they have been asked to be a part of so many drag events around the world because they stood out. They heard what people were saying about them, they felt the things you say about them, but they didn’t let that stop what they were going to do.
All the while, you were saying, “oh no girl…” they were getting booked, getting asked to host gigs, getting flown all over the country and world and visiting places most people have to pay to go visit on their own. If RuPaul can see something special in these queens, you can too. You can stop expecting the drag world to do everything based on your agenda.
Your negative comments don’t help anything, your positive attitude can make even you feel better about the world. If you spend more time giving compliments and less time throwing shade you’ll feel better about yourself and your day. You’ll be that person that can say, “I was telling her she was awesome before she got super famous.” Or, “I knew she’d make it big someday.”
All the pain, all the tears and all the drama… and that’s just when she’s getting her shoes and wig on! We’d like to extend our best wishes for RuPaul on her birthday. Because of you a legion of men have scared the wits out of men and women everywhere… they’re all scared of these men in wigs stealing their men! Thank you for being a pioneer, a mentor, a friend and the dragediest drag mama in the world!