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The Prowl

RuPaul gains recognition

Alan Islas Malanco, Staff Reporter

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This is what it’s like to be a drag queen.

First, erase all masculine features by shaving arms, legs and face. Then, throw on tons of makeup and erase all biological features in order to create a more feminine face. Make a 24-inch waist, put on heels, add a wig and squeeze into a dress.

A drag queen is a performer, usually a man who dresses as a woman and puts on a show whether it be dancing, lip syncing, acting and even modeling.

The art of drag is not just limited to biological men. Many trans-men and trans-women choose to do drag, which is very different from who they identify as. “Trans is who I am; drag is what I do,” Monica Beverly Hills, former Drag Race competitor, said in an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in season 5. Beverly Hills came out a few months later as a transgendered woman.

Over the years in the history of drag, there have been many famous drag queens, such as Lady Bunny, Divine and Sutan Amrull. Yet, there is one name that has propelled the art of drag to new heights in the last decade: RuPaul Charles.

On September 18, RuPaul accepted the Emmy for Outstanding Host of a Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality Program for his show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“Drag Race” is a reality program where drag queens gather from all over the world to compete for the title of America’s next Drag Superstar, along with a cash prize of $100,000.

The show first aired in February 2, 2009, and it gained success mainly amongst the LGBTQ+ community. The show received such high ratings that it was given a second, third and fourth season. As of 2016, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has eight seasons, two sequels named “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.” “Drag Race” has been nominated for this Emmy since its first season. However, the trophy kept getting snatched by other shows such as “Project Runway,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol.”

Even then, former “Drag Race” competitors, fellow celebrities and fans all over the world felt that after eight years of hard work it was time for RuPaul to win an award in order to recognize all that he has done not only for drag’s history but also for the LGBTQ+ community.

Many were excited to finally see RuPaul win an Emmy even at the high school level.

“RuPaul is an icon that many people look up to and respect,” senior Rebecca DeLuna said, “and seeing him win an Emmy- validating all of his hard work- lets others know that it’s possible to be different and succeed.”

RuPaul’s fame has not just come from wigs and dresses alone. One of the reasons that RuPaul has become so famous is because of his tremendous support of the LGBTQ+ community. The art of drag is definitely considered out of the box; hence, one of RuPaul’s main messages through the years has been to defy the social norms, for example winning the usual awards that celebrities aspire to win, such as an Emmy.

Months before the Emmy’s took place, RuPaul said, “I’d rather have an enema than an Emmy.” He later went on to clarify “It’s great [to win], but it’s not why we do the show. The people who live outside the box understand early on that getting awards based on a standard of the status quo is really not that important. In fact, if that was the Holy Grail in my career, I would have given up years ago because people weren’t trying to understand, or hear, anything that I had to do with.”

Neverthless, RuPaul’s Emmy nomination and win is a huge step towards the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in the media.

“It normalizes the culture of the community and just makes it less taboo,” junior Madeline Holstrom said. “It’s representation and that’s what the community needs, so it’s not so weird, different and scary.”

While the art of drag does not encompass the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community, RuPaul’s win as a huge icon of the community can help people realize that it’s okay to see a man in women’s clothes, a woman in man’s clothes.

RuPaul’s message of self-love and acceptance has reached millions across the world, more specifically in his famous catchphrase, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

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The student news site of Providence High School
RuPaul gains recognition