‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ cast push back against hate, threats

by AryanArtnews
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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ cast push back against hate, threats

NEW YORK (AP) — As the cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” celebrated the new season, they credited the show’s creator with popularizing drag and expressed concern about the protests and threats to the performance style at the heart of the long-running series.

“RuPaul really brought it into the mainstream, really made people aware that it’s an art form more than anything,” contestant Marcia Marcia Marcia told The Associated Press at Thursday’s season 15 premiere in New York. The new season starts Friday on MTV.

“I think everyone was so good with drag for a little bit,” says the drag queen with the “Brady Bunch”-inspired name. “And now history is repeating itself and people are speaking out against it, which I think is so stupid.”

With a long and rich history, drag – the art of dressing as a different gender, often for performance — was attacked by right-wing politicians and activists who falsely associated it with the “sexualization” and “care” of children. In recent months, protesters – sometimes with guns – have besieged drag story hours, during which artists read books to children. Ban on children at drag events has been lifted. In late November, a shooter at a Colorado Springs nightclub turned a drag queen’s birthday party into a massacre and was charged with hate crimes and murder.

Another participant, Jax, said the threats, protests and hate was “disheartening” but not surprising: “Just like being a person of color, being a minority, growing up in certain communities, it’s something I’ve had to go through my whole life.”

“But we always win,” Jax added. “We always win and we always come out on top because we are on the right side of history and we love what we do and we don’t do anything to harm anyone. We just try to bring love to everything.”

For contestant Loosey LaDuca, this is nothing new either: “It’s really unfortunate that drag queens have become the new target during this time. But LGBT people are no strangers to being the, you know, the public enemy.”

It’s good to be cautious about threats, LaDuca said, but “we will never be afraid.”

Last month, New York City Councilman Erik Bottcher attended a drag story hour in his district. He filmed and posted a video of “dozens of homophobic protesters outside with the most disgusting signs verbally attacking the families and the drag queen.” Two days later, he said, anti-drag activists vandalized the hallway outside his office and gained access to his apartment building.

“Two of them have been arrested. A third was arrested for assaulting one of my neighbors,” he told the AP at the premiere. “This is all an attempt to intimidate those of us who support drag story hour.”

Contestant Irene Dubois has a theory about what’s behind the vitriol aimed at drag performers.

“I think a man in women’s clothing is inherently hilarious just because we’re like, (gasp) ‘That’s not supposed to happen!'” Dubois surmised. “And it’s when the men in women’s clothes stop bumping, bumping, winking, winking and actually start enjoying the way they look in the women’s clothes that people kind of start saying, ‘Wait, hold on, hold on,’ hold on fast. You are supposed to laugh at yourself. And if you don’t laugh at yourself, we don’t like it.'”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Ross Mathews paints the progress and regression as “a pendulum swinging.”

“The further we progress and the more we embrace, accept, celebrate that pendulum — they’re going to try to swing it back, to move our movement back,” he says of anti-drag activists. “But you can’t put this genie back in the bottle. Honey, we’re awesome.”

Marcia Marcia Marcia had a simple message for critics of drag, which she says is “all about fun and expression”: “If you have a problem with those things, I think you need to reevaluate.”

In the end, contestant Princess Poppy hopes it’s the impact RuPaul is made on culture with “Drag Race” that will prevail.

“I feel like it’s helped a lot of people who don’t really understand drag people or gay people or drag queens,” she said. “They don’t really understand because they don’t really understand what we do. But the show, it humanises us, and it shows that we are also human.”

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