I could talk about Cops, and how that's the proto reality show, and how entertaining it is for me or the sort of folks who paradoxically find themselves or their peers regularly raided by cops, but instead i am going to talk about RuPaul's Drag Race.
In my day, RuPaul was some dude who hung out with the outrageous NYC club kids who showed up on American talk shows (which of course were soap-tastically watched by gays all over the world). He was one of the dudes who could actually string two words together without murdering a bitch, chopping the body up and stuffing the limbs in a bathtub full of ice. So, back in those days, that was called a relatively normal raver. Most of us were slightly less murder-adjacent. Most of us.
Anywho, today the dude is a fucking reality show superstar. He basically made drag mainstream. You can't fault him for that. But also he popularized the most materialistic, commercialized version of drag that could be.
RuPaul promotes a sort of conservative American male-oriented drag which has a history in struggling gay men portraying themselves as beautiful and successful straight women. And it's great! But what often gets missed in these reality shows is that drag wasn't just about gay men parodying or emulating women, it was also an outlet for men or women who were ostracized for their gender nonconformity to express their authentic selves.
There are a lot of men who accidentally ended up in the gay scene because they weren't manly enough men. I was one of them. I decided to transition and become a woman. I'm still not sure if i am a "real" woman, even after getting bottom surgery and publicly living as one for over 20 years. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is that fucking goddamned conservative-ass RuPaul's Drag Race is still a thing that people think is edgy or progressive.
Yo. Welcome to 2021. RuPaul is 1991, at best.
Still. I enjoy his shows. I value his contribution to the scene. All the butthurt lefties who get on his ass for allowing fracking on his Wyoming property, or using the term "she-male", can suck my foot-long trannie dick. (In case it's not obvious, i don't have a physical dick and haven't had one in decades. Also, it was never foot-long.) RuPaul helped us all along. Any trans person who denies that is talking bullshit.
But RuPaul and his production team are really out of the loop. Not just in how they represent the Zoomer/TikTok generation who can explain their funky-ass lifestyles way better than me, but also when it comes to appreciation of classic drag. Which is to say, no spectacularly expensive outfits. No boob or hip forms. Just. Some fucking guy in a sparkly dress performing a goddamn torch song like his life depended on it.
It's sad when people fail on Drag Race because they didn't have enough money to buy a dozen bespoke outfits. God, it was never about the outfits, it was about the sass.
Lordy. I remember the Sportsman Hotel in Spring Hill, Brisbane. It is/was oldskool as fuck. If you don't sing a torch song you can get lost. Velvet curtains. One mic. One stool. I remember being there watching a drag show and i started crying. I had to go outside because i couldn't handle seeing such a beautiful "woman" up there on stage while my body was so manly, and everyone around me was Gay AF. I loved those dudes, as buds, but i would never want to fuck 'em. Or be 'em. I just wanted to be that girl, on the stool, singing Dusty Springfield, you know?
Dusty Springfield - If You Go Away
I guess you don't know, because you're not trans.
But somehow, that's how it feels.