RuPaul's Drag Racers Reveal How They Carry Stonewall's Torch
The cast of season 11 discusses how the queens who started the LGBTQ movement live on through them.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots -- when drag queens, queer folks, and transgender activists rose up against police brutality to launch the LGBTQ rights movement.
To mark the occasion, The Advocate asked the cast of season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race how they are carrying on the spirit of Stonewall in their drag and activism.
"As a personal artist, the way I embody that fight is I've taken it to the streets of the world but also to the streets right in front of Stonewall," said Honey Davenport, who held the title of Miss Stonewall 2015. "Recently, in this past year, I experienced racism at a queer establishment right in the West Village, right near there, and I exploded that. Because in today's world, in 2019, if you don't stand for something, you are part of the problem."
"That's how I cut my teeth and that's how I grew up was as an activist in my community and using my time and talent to raise money for queer causes," said Nina West, who memorably brought a rainbow Pride flag and a transgender flag to the main stage of Drag Race. "I don't think it's ever been lost on me, how important it is for me to be a voice for my community and how I can really carry that torch even here on this stage."
Shuga Cain also encouraged established drag performers to support the next generation of queens who will continue to give visibility to the movement. "There's a lot of new and up-and-coming young queens. ... Go to support them and see their shows," said Cain.
"Be loud, proud, bold, and don't shy away from anybody," said Ra'Jah O'Hara, who vowed to stay true to her "authentic self" in the face of the stigma from society. "I think we don't throw stones literally as much as we can throw internet stones now," added Scarlet Envy, who advocated for using social media to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and call out those who would oppress the marginalized.
Ultimately, it is about "showing the world that we will not be silenced," concluded Aquaria, the winner of season 10.
Don't miss the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern on VH1.