The American sect of RuPaul’s Drag Race is on its 15th season now. With celebrity guest judges Janelle Monet and Arianna Grande, the world of drag has been elevated to the world-stage in a matter of two decades.
The full cast-list was announced on Dec. 12. And yet, there are only two Asian-American drag queens who are a part of the announced cast.
On the second week of Canada vs. The World, one of the few Asian-Canadian, Filipino queens was eliminated from the show after a two-week stint. As a long-time audience member, it hurts like a fresh cut every single time one of the few Asian queens gets eliminated.
As a trans man, who is also a drag king and plus size, I haven’t felt represented in RuPaul’s Drag Race. How can one feel powerful in reclaiming their culture and identity when the world seems not to give us a shot? Or rather, when the ones who are put in charge of judging what is drag and what is not won’t even let us get past snatch game?
Did you know that every single season of Drag Race UK (there’s been four so far), the one Asian queen goes home? Is this our lot in life? To get eliminated just so one other white queen can win the title that is so coveted in our community?
And people wonder why the queer community can be so racist. And the feeling that you get, knowing that you’re too Asian for the gays or too gay for your family, is soul crushing.
I am not the only one who feels this way. I know I’m not.
The first step of a more accepting society is education and exposure.
How do we fix this, if not to talk about it every time it hurts? To fantasize that maybe one day you can host your own show where you can have all kinds of folks on there, who do all kinds of drag.
And not just have the one Asian queen, who goes home after Snatch Game.
The one fat queen who hurts themselves on challenges that were not made for their bodies.
The one black queen who feels like they have the world on their shoulders.
The one trans queen who is scared of getting outed.
The drag kings who want a shot at success.
The drag monarchs who so often get erased with an “and other.”
Why do we have to live on the fringes, feel happy and pretend like everything is fine, when we have one glimpse of ourselves in the fleeting fire of TV?
Can’t our existence amount to anything more than lipstick on a mirror that gets erased after 20 minutes of screen time?
I want that. I’m angry. I’m hungry for change and I want it now. I don’t want to wait, I don’t want to settle, and I don’t want to smile and pretend like everything is fine.
Were we not made for Drag Race, or was Drag Race not made for us?