What Drag Means to Me

This past summer, my best friend introduced me to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it quickly became our favorite show to watch together. It’s the perfect reality TV show- it brings drama, laughs, art, and emotion in the perfect balance. I was hooked. We started watching season 9 together, and it wasn’t long before I began working my way back through the seasons on my own.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is not a show I ever pictured myself watching, but it has become a great part of my life. It’s something I look forward to each week. It gives me a break from everything else I have going on for two hours every Thursday. I watch it with my friend on campus, and because I don’t share any classes with him, it means I can count on seeing him at least once a week. I like to leave Netflix streaming for a lot of the time because I like having the background noise. I’ve seen a lot of TV shows that don’t really have an influence on me, but Drag Race is one show I can always count on to make me smile and help me relax.

Although I am not a member of the LGBT+ community myself, drag still brings me a feeling of empowerment. I love watching something that celebrates people with diverse identities. Nowhere else on TV can you find so much representation of sexuality and gender expression. Drag Race is even one of the most ethnically diverse reality shows. Like most reality shows, the competitors have feuds and alliances, but the best part of Drag Race is that there is always underlying love. When it comes down to it, the queens are a family. They call each other sisters, and when it's time to be serious, they support each other like family.

Last Friday, I went to the Night of Noise drag show on campus and I had a fantastic time. It was my first ever drag show, and I was nervous to go. My friends all happened to be busy, so I went alone, something that I’ve never been fond of. Instead of being uncomfortable by myself, I felt so welcomed. I ended up sitting with some acquaintances and we had an awesome time together. In fact, everyone in the room was having a great time together. One of my favorite things are those rare occasions where a group of strangers has an experience that brings them together in joy. This drag show was one of those times, and I felt lucky to be a part of it.

Drag inspires me to be a better artist. I have always been an artistic person: I love painting, drawing, and making collages. Art has allowed me to express my emotions in a therapeutic way, but there have been periods in my life where I haven’t made anything at all. When I’m feeling anxious or depressed, and it would be the best time for me to make something, I often get artist’s block. But lately, if I feel that creative block, I can scroll through Instagram and be inspired by my favorite drag queens. The intricate fashions and complicated makeup looks of queens make me want to create something beautiful of my own.  

Most importantly, drag allows me and my friend to stay close even when we don’t get to see each other. Over the summer, I saw her nearly every day, but during the school year, we see each other less than once a month. It can be really hard to go so long without getting a hug from your best friend, but I still feel connected to her because we watch RuPaul’s Drag Race “together” every week. We talk every day, always keeping up to date on each other’s lives, but that isn’t the same as experiencing something together. It can be really hard because it feels like we are living very separate lives. But each week, I can count on the fact that we will both be watching Drag Race, and we can call each other afterward. We share our thoughts on the episode, opinions on different queens, and send each other memes of the show on Twitter. Even if I didn’t fall in love with this show when she first showed it to me, I would watch it just because she loves it. I look forward to every Thursday night because I know it means that I get to watch my favorite show and enjoy it with my best friend who is hours away.