For over a decade, RuPaul’s Drag Race has introduced viewers across the globe to the world of drag, complete with oversized wigs, extravagant outfits and opulence galore.
While fans have enjoyed watching the competing drag queens showcase their talents, the show has also demonstrated the strength of connection, love and support within the LGBTQ+ community.
The line-up of the current 13th season of Drag Race US includes the programme’s first transgender male competitor Gottmik, who said: ‘I need to be the first trans winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Period.’
Meanwhile, during a recent episode of Drag Race UK, Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon-Boulash were flooded with praise from fans for their moving chat about being non-binary.
Here are a few examples of moments on Drag Race that captured LGBTQ+ kindness in all its beauty.
Ongina reveals she is living with HIV
In the very first season of Drag Race, Ongina – who finished in fifth place – won a challenge that was all about combating the stigma attached to HIV and Aids by creating a Mac Viva Glam Woman campaign.
When RuPaul announced Ongina as the winner, she broke down in tears, explaining that the challenge meant ‘so much’ to her as she had been living with HIV for the past couple of years.
As everyone rallied around her, Ongina said: ‘Thank you so much. I just wanted to say, and I’ve been always so afraid to say it, that I have been living with HIV for the last two years of my life and this means so much to me.
‘I didn’t want to say it on national TV because my parents don’t know. Oh my god. You have to celebrate life. You keep going. And I keep going.’
RuPaul expressed her admiration for Ongina’s strength and perseverance, telling her: ‘Ongina you are an inspiration. You’re a survivor.’
Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon-Boulash open up about being non-binary
During the current season of Drag Race UK, Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon-Boulash received high praise for their heartfelt conversation about being part of the non-binary community.
‘I’ve always struggled with my identity,’ Ginny said. ‘For years and years, I didn’t know what I was. I didn’t know if I was a boy or a girl, and that’s why I wear yellow – because it doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t define me as anything.’
While speaking to Bimini, Ginny said: ‘When I realised there was this whole community of non-binary people, I was like, “Yes, that is for me”.’
In a VT, Bimini explained that being non-binary ‘isn’t a new thing’, it’s ‘just a new term’, stating: ‘As humans, we’re so complex that having a binary to fit everyone into it, whether it’s just male or female, just doesn’t make sense when there’s 7 billion plus people in the world.’
At the end of their heart-to-heart, Bimini told Ginny: ‘How we want to self-identify isn’t up to anyone else. It’s not up for anyone else to have a debate about it, about how we feel inside.’
Gottmik opens up about being a transgender man
Gottmik is the first transgender man to be competing in Drag Race, currently starring in the 13th season of the show in the US.
In the second episode of the series, the performer opened up to Olivia Lux about their journey after including lyrics about their transition in their song lyrics for a performance.
‘Thank you for sharing that with us,’ Olivia told Gottmik. ‘You’re changing the shape of drag. Like, this is big.’
‘I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Cards are on the table. My normal, slightly narcissistic, confident Gottmik headspace took back over and now I just need to kill this performance,’ Gottmik said.
Trinity Taylor and Cynthia Lee Fontaine speak about the Orlando Pulse shooting
On June 12 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured by a gunman in a mass shooting at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida.
On season nine of Drag Race, Trinity Taylor and Cynthia Lee Fontaine spoke to the other contestants queens about the tragic event, with Trinity and Cynthia telling their peers that they could have been at the club that night.
Trinity revealed that she had performed at the club just the week before, adding that a woman that she knows from her day job lost her daughter in the shooting, a young woman who had just graduated from nursing school.
Cynthia was meant to make an appearance at Pulse that night, but had to reschedule.
‘Unfortunately one of my friends died in that incident Martin, and he was like two or three hours before like, “You’re not here, you’re supposed to have a show, that’s why I came here tonight”,’ Cynthia said, as her fellow drag queens expressed their shock and sadness over the tragedy.
‘I miss him so much and he was one of my first dancers like 10 years ago when I started doing drag. So it was a very traumatic situation for everybody. We never expect that a tragedy like this [will] happen in our community or happen in our clubs because we thought that we finally built a safe place for our community.’
Trinity K Bonet shares HIV diagnosis
During an episode of Drag Race: Untucked on the sixth season, Trinity K Bonet informed her fellow drag queens that she had been living with HIV for the past couple of years.
‘I am HIV-positive,’ the then-23-year-old said. ‘I was diagnosed in August 2012, and I have so much to live for. I have so many goals and aspirations that I want to conquer in my life, so I’m not going to let an obstacle get in the way.’
Trinity stated that she wanted to star on Drag Race ‘to be that voice for people who are scared to speak out about that’.
‘I’m hoping that by sharing this that I will be affecting somebody’s life. And I’m hoping, by sharing my story, that I will inspire others and that they will take it and apply it to themselves,’ the performer said.
After her admission, Trinity received a surprise message from her mother, who said: ‘I’m sending you this message to let you know that I miss you and I love you. I’m happy. I’m your mother, and I love you no matter what.’
Roxxxy Andrews recalls being abandoned by her mother
On the fifth season of Drag Race, RuPaul emphasised the importance of chosen family after Roxxxy Andrews spoke about the trauma of being abandoned as a child by her mother.
After taking part in a lip sync for her life with Alyssa Edwards, Roxxxy started crying, before saying: ‘It just hit me. Not feeling wanted and not being good enough. I just feel like my mum never wanted me.
‘My mother left my sister and myself at a bus stop when I was three, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I come out as this strong character. I try to stay so strong, but I’m so weak.’
As judge Michelle Visage began tearing up, Roxxxy continued, stating: ‘It just hurts that I was left, nobody cared.’
RuPaul stressed just how much Roxxxy is loved and appreciated, telling her: ‘We love you, and you are so welcome here. We as gay people, we get to choose our family, you know, we get to choose the people that we’re around.’
As the head judge became choked up, she added: ‘I am your family, we are family here. I love you,’ to which Roxxie replied: ‘I love you.’
Queens show support for trans members of Drag Race family
While Gottmik is the first trans man to compete in Drag Race, over the years, several past contestants have come out as transgender both on and after the show.
During the season two reunion, Sonique was initially unable to reveal why she had been struggling as of late, before her friend Morgan McMichaels and RuPaul comforted her.
After being consoled by Morgan and RuPaul, Sonique returned to the stage where she said that she didn’t previously understand why she hadn’t been happy, before realising: ‘I’m a woman. I’m not a boy who dresses up.’
Three seasons later, Monica Beverly Hillz broke down in tears on stage as she admitted that there was ‘a lot going through my head’ and that she’d been ‘holding a secret in’.
After Monica announced to everyone that she is a transgender woman, RuPaul assured Monica that she had been welcomed into the competition because she is ‘fierce’, adding: ‘You deserve to be here, and that’s why you’re here. You have to believe in yourself.’
In a VT, Jinkx Monsoon – who went on to win the season – praised Monica for her strength, stating: ‘Monica has been through everything. Right now, she’s the strongest girl in this competition.’
Having first competed on the sixth season of Drag Race in 2014, Gia Gunn later came out as transgender and returned to Drag Race for the fourth season of All Stars in 2018.
After delivering a disappointing performance in the Snatch Game of Love, Gia opened up to Manila Luzon about how difficult she has found being in the competition as a trans woman.
‘I didn’t really expect competing in a drag competition as a transgender woman to be so hard and so emotional,’ she said, adding that she was ‘overwhelmed’.
‘I was in a really, really emotional state. I don’t know, I just wish that there was another way for me to do this, to show you can be whoever you want to be as a trans woman,’ Gia stated. ‘I don’t feel good about being looked at as a man dressed up as a woman, because that’s not who I am. I just want to be me.
After speaking to Gia, Manila said in a VT: ‘As I’m talking to Gia, I feel for her. She has got a lot on her plate, more than just the competition.’
RuPaul’s Drag Race is available to watch on WOW Presents Plus and Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.