Let's Talk: RuPaul's Drag Race UK
Posted on 24 Oct 2019

Lacey Lou explains why the first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK has left her disappointed...


Like the majority of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m completely pumped that RuPaul’s Drag Race has come to the UK. The new BBC Three series offers our participating sisters a truly fantastic opportunity to showcase their talents and bring the magic of UK drag to a wider audience...

Having waited with baited breath to find out which queens would be appearing on the show, I was more than a little confused by the line-up when it was finally revealed. There were queens of not even a year’s experience, queens who haven’t performed. Was this the programme-maker’s idea of a UK version of the hit American show?! No disrespect to the queens at all - from watching so far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it - but I must confess that the UK series has left me somewhat stumped.


Why are there queens of little experience competing when there are plenty of high-calibre experienced queens who are trans and cisgender female absolutely killing it in the UK?

It was explained to me by somebody who’d enquired about the series’ application process that it was open to all genders and sexualities, as is the US original. If this is true, are they really saying that queens who haven’t performed, or are lacking any great amount of  experience, are the most suitable performers for a spot on this ultimate drag competition?!


We all know that that simply cannot be the case. We also know that, truth be told, the programme hasn’t caught up with the living, breathing drag communities around the world. RuPaul himself has been caught out in many an interview mangling his words and revealing his real thoughts. The truth is, he doesn’t see us as being as credible as our cis male counterparts. The argument I hear is that it’s his show, therefore his rules. This is very true, and he has the right to dictate what happens. But if this is how he chooses to dictate, then we need to remove him from his position as the public face of our community. His caveman views fail to represent drag as the accepting and loving artform that it most definitely is and has always been. He seems to have forgotten the performers who were our pioneers.

One man does not dictate what communities can or can’t do, and lots and lots of queens have lifted the middle finger to RuPaul’s dated rhetoric. Instead, we celebrate drag for its ability to teach people how to love and feel fine about themselves.


I feel for the eliminated queens - two, at the time of writing - Scaredy Kat and Gothy Kendoll. I think they were selected for the show because their stories would make for ‘good TV’ rather than because they had a chance of winning - and that’s not what I call a competition. Both young, both insecure, and with a lot to learn about themselves and drag, they were always likely to receive fierce criticism - and indeed they did.

I wish each and every queen who’s still on the show - and those who participate in future seasons - the very best of luck. Make some good television for us and make a memorable career for yourself whilst drag is basking in the TV limelight. But let’s be honest about things and call the show what it is - a very entertaining entertainment, not a credible competition.

Support local drag.
Lots of Love, Lacey x

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