Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Transnation: Bush is out, RuPaul is in
by Jacob Anderson-Minshall
2009-02-01

This article shared 4602 times since Sun Feb 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


"We all played a part in the Bush fiasco," maintains supermodel RuPaul Charles, remarking on the outgoing administration. "We can't just point the finger at what they did; we have to take responsibility for our part. That's the only way we can advance and expand."

Pictured: RuPaul. Photo by Emmanuel Garcia,

Back in the limelight with a new dance song/music video, "Cover Girl ( Put the Bass in Your Walk ) ," and a new reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, Charles credits his new visibility to the Obama presidency.

"I thought it was time after these eight years with the Bush administration, these eight years of fear, that a new generation be introduced to drag, because … anything to do with gender experimentation in a fear-based period of time has to go underground because it's too scary. So re-introducing drag to a younger generation was important for me."

Already a chart-topping musician ( "Supermodel ( You Better Work ) " ) , a seasoned actor ( Starrbooty ) , a well-heeled talk show host ( VH1's The RuPaul Show ) , a cosmetics spokesmodel ( for MAC ) , a Barbie substitute ( as the RuPaul doll ) , a memoir author ( Letting it All Hang Out ) and the world's most famous drag queen, Charles adds the roles of reality-show host, mentor and judge with RuPaul's Drag Race.

In the series, nine professional female impersonators are vying for the chance to be "America's next drag superstar."

Charles, who self identifies simply as Ru, appears as both his masculine and feminine personalities on Drag Race. He's joined at the judges' table, by fashion journalist Merle Ginsberg, Project Runway designer Santino Rice, and a dozen guest judges, including queer favorites Lucy Lawless, Jenny Shimizu and Tori Spelling.

What sets the show apart, Charles maintains, is the courage the contestants display. "Anybody who's ever decided they're going to leave the house in high heels, lipstick and a plastic wig on … [ when ] they're a boy, is so courageous! It takes so much chutzpah to do that."

In fact, Charles argues, simply by suggesting our identities are malleable, drag is downright dangerous.

"Throughout the ages, [ cross-dressing ] has reminded our culture that...you are not who you think you are. This is just a temporary package … and it's not to be taken seriously. Now, that knowledge threatens a lot of people who are so invested in their identity as a Christian or a Jew or as a black or as white or male, female, this, that. Drag is the antithesis of that. It's dangerous because if people accepted that message or really took it in, they would have to deconstruct who they are and … a lot of people don't have the guts to do that."

"Drag will always exist," Charles insists, despite the rise of gender bending and increasingly fluid self-identities. "It's really an enlightened state; that's why some of the gods in different religions have always had that duality. It's always compelling to see someone who is both strong and also nurturing. Drag [ queens and kings ] have always been the myth keepers of every culture, the witch doctors, the shamans."

For years Charles dodged the spotlight to focus on his family, and kept his distance from reality television, because, "I didn't want to do it if it were mean-spirited or derogatory."

Then Charles teamed up with the people behind his VH-1 show and says, "I knew that I was in safe hands. I knew that they felt the same way I did, that they would like to celebrate the people who dance to the beat of a different drummer." The result, RuPaul's Drag Race, premiered on Logo Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. CT.

Excited that "the time is right for me to be heard and be seen again," Charles also narrates the Starz channel documentary Ladies or Gentlemen, a history of cross-dressing in film, which premiered earlier this week and of featured commentary by the once controversial lesbian author Camille Paglia.

A career retrospective featuring Charles' most memorable gowns and ensembles is part of the RuPaul Drag Race art show—the largest exhibition by and about drag queens every assembled—currently on display at the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery, in Hollywood, California.

Trans author Jacob Anderson-Minshall is the author of Blind Faith, the latest Blind Eye mystery, which is already garnering rave reviews. To view the book trailer and find out more, check out blindeyemysteries.com .


This article shared 4602 times since Sun Feb 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Court rulings, Dutch apology, trans candidates win, Global Black Pride 2021-12-05
- Botswana's Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 ruling that decriminalized gay sex, effectively striking off two sections of the penal code that had outlawed homosexuality, according to Reuters. Before the 2019 High Court ruling, which was ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans murder milestone, Victory Fund, Matthew Shepard, Palm Center 2021-12-05
- Nikai David was fatally shot in Oakland, California—becoming at least the 50th trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming person reported killed in the United States in 2021, PGHLesbian.com noted. Forty-four of the victims have been BIPOC, and ...


Gay News

Trans-focused documentary part of South Side Film Festival 2021-11-29
- The documentary Mama Gloria—which features Chicago transgender icon Gloria Allen—was part of the South Side Film Festival line-up on Nov. 28. Born in 1945, Allen grew up amid the celebrated Black "sissy" balls on Chicago's South ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Asylum case, TDOR items, activist dies, trans hockey team 2021-11-28
- Mattie Tux Horton—a transgender woman from Zimbabwe who lives in Rockville, Maryland—won her asylum case in late October after living in the United States for the past five years, The Washington Blade reported. Although she has ...


Gay News

House of Chanel creates charitable foundation to promote community service across ballroom scene, beyond 2021-11-24
- Almost 50 years after the founding of House of Chanel, the ballroom house is creating the Chanel Cares Charitable Foundation to give back to the community. The foundation will organize community engagement projects, including an upcoming ...


Gay News

Community mourns the losses of transgender people, celebrates the living at TDOR event 2021-11-23
- During the Trans Day of Remembrance/Resilience (TDOR) on Nov. 20, community members gathered for a town hall and memorial to remember the losses and lives of trans people in Chicago and beyond. Hosted by Brave Space ...


Gay News

The National Black Justice Coalition mourns death of Angel Naira 2021-11-23
--From a press release - ALIQUIPPA, PA — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the death of Angel Naira, a 36-year-old Black transgender woman. Naira was shot to death in her home in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, on November 11, 2021. She ...


Gay News

Christina Kahrl, Monica Roberts named to LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame 2021-11-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 22, 2021) — Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that BaseballProspectus.com co-founder and San Francisco Chronicle sports editor Christina Kahrl and TransGriot founder Monica Roberts ...


Gay News

NATIONAL N.Y. governor, GLSEN report, flower shop, political items 2021-11-21
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a pair of LGBTQ-related bills aimed at protecting sex-trafficking survivors as well as requiring utility and telephone companies to respect customers' preferred pronouns, The New York Post reported. One of ...


Gay News

Activist projects names of trans dead on Netflix HQ 2021-11-21
--From a press release - LOS GATOS — On the Trans Day of Remembrance, the names of trans people who died this year were projected onto Netflix's Silicon Valley headquarters. The words of light were visible from Winchester Boulevard, over the ...


Gay News

DNC makes statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021-11-20
--From a Democratic National Committee press release - DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and DNC LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes released the following statement to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20): "This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor the lives lost due to anti-trans ...


Gay News

NBJC commemorates Transgender Day of Remembrance in what may be deadliest year 2021-11-20
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Since January of 2021, at least 46 transgender or gender-nonconforming/non-binary people in the United States have had their lives taken from them - putting 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance, partners plan Memorial Luncheon, Town Hall on trans violence 2021-11-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Nov. 19, 2021 — Brave Space Alliance and other community partner organizations will host a memorial luncheon and town hall to honor the memory of transgender people who have been murdered over the ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ equality in nine Illinois municipalities detailed in Human Rights Campaign Index 2021-11-18
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The ...


Gay News

CTA's Red-Purple Bypass at Belmont to go into service Nov. 19 2021-11-18
- The Chicago Transit Authority announced the new Red-Purple Bypass—the first major improvement for CTA customers as part of the historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One project—will go into service on the Brown ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.