RuPaul: Normalising Drag Since 2008

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Ru Paul’s Drag Race has become increasingly popular over the years due to its lighthearted, humorous and incredibly sassy content. Most of you will be familiar with the show by now, but the aim is to compete in various challenges to be crowned America’s next Drag Superstar with a comfortable £100,000 and a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup thrown in.

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Despite the laid back atmosphere and casual innuendoes that make the show such an entertaining and easy watch, at times there can be a serious element to it. Most of the contestants eventually open up about the sometimes cruel reality of being involved in drag and also being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Some spoke of family arguments which resulted in them no longer speaking, while others talked about being thrown out of their homes or even being beaten up, simply for being themselves. By including such heartbreaking stories, it reminds us that there is a lot more to be done to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen and that we should all work harder to be more accepting towards one another.

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The show contains a challenge in which the queens are paired up with someone who has never taken part in drag before and they are asked to transform them into drag queens. Often these guests identify as gay and have been victimised for their sexuality. They reminisce about challenging the oppression and always pushing on despite how ominous the future seemed. RuPaul himself recognised them for their contribution towards making the LGBTQ+ community a more accepted one, thanking them for fighting back so that everyone can have the rights that they deserve. Without such significant figures, a programme like Ru Paul’s Drag Race wouldn’t exist, and as such there wouldn’t be such an important platform for normalising drag and the LGBTQ+ community.

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Before watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, I was not educated on the world of drag and oblivious to the talent and skill required to be successful at it. The show has been essential in highlighting the issues that the LGBTQ+ community have and continue to face, spreading awareness and starting the conversation about what more needs to be done to protect the community.

Despite all of these important factors, Ru Paul’s Drag Race has had me in stitches more times than I can remember and is truly binge-worthy. I’ve even been to see one of the winners of the show, Bianca Del Rio, doing stand-up, which was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

We love you, Ru!

Photo Credit: Tumblr.

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