People from across the LGBTQ spectrum and their allies packed the Playstation Theater in New York City on Tuesday for the premiere party of the ninth season of what has become one of the most successful queer reality shows of all time: “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Just last week, producers announced that “Drag Race” would officially move from Logo to VH1 ― an unprecedented move for mainstream queer visibility and shifting the fan base of this cult reality program beyond audiences made up of mostly LGBTQ people. Between the network switch and the fact that this is the first year “Drag Race” will air without Barack Obama as president, the political significance of drag performance has been imbued with a heightened sense of meaning and a new potential to affect change.
RuPaul himself has even begun utilizing his considerable platform to speak out about President Donald Trump’s administration, tweeting after Election Day that he now “understand[s] how the world could stand by and allow a Hitler to happen.”
Before the start of last night’s festivities, The Huffington Post chatted with a handful of the girls competing on the upcoming season of “Drag Race” about their feelings surrounding drag visibility under our current president, and what they hope the show will offer viewers as they attempt to navigate life in Trump’s America.
“I think that drag always pushes against the limits of what’s considered beautiful and valuable. And now more than ever we’re called upon to redefine that because the kind of ‘official statement’ does not include all of us in our community. And I think drag is an amazing platform to do all of that — to push for inclusivity, peace and diversity, but through sequins and beauty and glamour and pettiness and all of the things that America loves!”
“I think that drag is kind of punk rock and righteous – I feel like that a lot of right-wing people want you to fit into societal standards and things that they don’t understand that they think are wrong. Drag being on such a mainstream network is a protest, in a way! We’re here, we’re gay, we’re queer and we’re here to stay! We’re in your face, we’re going to be sparkly, we’re going to be funny, cute and you’re going to eat it!”
“We’re gonna kill it. It’s only the beginning – first of all, our show is on VH1. Like do you understand what kind of viewers we’re going to have now, besides just the gays and whatnot? Trump – you better watch out because we’re going to come back harder and stronger. And you have this channel on your TV! So there’s no way you can’t watch it. But honestly, with drag, we’ve all been through that experience, that time where we were afraid to come out. We just have to put our A-game on and kill it.”
“I think it’s important because all of us are brining something that is as gay as possible – which is what the world needs now, besides love sweet love.”
The ninth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will air Friday, March 24 at 8:00 PM ET/PT.
Cole Delbyck contributed reporting to this story.