Let me start off by saying that I’m a fan. I have been since the moment I heard you told me I’d “betta werk” and I probably will be forever. I bought your books, I’ve watched your underground documentaries, I’ve worn your t-shirt… I’m there. I think what you stand for is amazing and you’ve been incredibly instrumental in the gay rights movement, acting as a sort-of ambassador into pop culture and helping to promote pride and joy within the LGBT community. I think your messages of love are powerful and I think you’re a perfect role model (both in and out of your drag persona) in that you show incredible confidence but you’re never mean or underhanded. I think you’re incredible.
And it’s no secret that you’re a smart guy; you’ve had to be in order to break into a still homophobic mainstream and maintain a career that’s lasted almost two decades. If you’d come out and just been a boozy, flighty queen, you wouldn’t have stood a chance against all the inevitable hatred you’ve garnered and you never would’ve been able to command respect from those who let you through the Pop-Culture gate in the first place. You know this.
Additionally, you know that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is more than just another trashy reality show. This became obvious to the public the moment Ongina was awarded the MAC spokesmodel position and began to cry before admitting to the world that she’d been secretly living with HIV for years. That was the moment we realized that this show wasn’t just about men trying to out-fab each other but it was a means to educate the world to another facet of gay lifestyles and help those who don’t understand to embrace gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transgenders as people instead of just faceless political opponents. Sure, there’s cattiness and overblown drama and obvious creative editing choices (it makes for good TV) but what RPDR stands for in principle and as a televised show in mainstream America is very very important. Again, you know this. You’ve said this yourself.
I don’t believe that one should live their life being diplomatic to further a political agenda by any means but, frankly, the decision to name Tyra Sanchez the winner of RuPAUL’s Drag Race: Season 2 was almost a step backwards and a complete slap in the face to those who have been working to dispel stereotypes about drag queens. Your personal tenants of what makes a drag superstar are Courage, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent (and, yes, I get and appreciate the joke.) Granted, as a performer, Tyra has tons of uniqueness and she’s obviously very clever in her creative endeavors but that’s where the good stuff ends.
First of all, you’re a very big proponent of being a sassy queen and not a bitchy one for the sake of dignity and class and you honestly couldn’t have picked a worse candidate for that out of the contestants this year. Secondly, you’re fully aware how much intelligence is needed to hold a position as a popular gay/bi/lesbian/trans icon but you’ve totally contradicted that by choosing a girl who is dumber than a sack of hammers, socially inept beyond reason and can’t put together a sentence if she was being paid a hundred bucks per word. Unless she’s onstage, she has the personality of a jar of mayonnaise.
And aaaallll of these things are cliches that the gay community has been desperately trying to distance themselves from when it comes to public relations.
Frankly, if you wanted us to appreciate and embrace Tyra, I don’t know why you’d choose to approve the editor’s choices to make her look like a self-centered idiot who is just rude beyond reason. Obviously this was a decision you stood by and I’m baffled as to why you’d want to paint that picture of a contestant that you knew you were going to choose to represent the show and your work.
More than anything, though, I’m frustrated – with this and all the other public decisions that are made that keep the gay community in the stereotypes that don’t allow us to advance – and a little bit disheartened. Because if you’re not going to try, why should anyone else? The last thing the queer community needs is someone on the inside working against them.
Unfortunately, Ru, you betrayed your own advice and f*%#ed this up.