Abstract illustration inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race

The first time I saw a live drag show, I was 17. I had joined a group of fellow college students to go to a gay bar — the first gay bar I’d ever been to. They allowed underage people in but marked our hands to indicate that we couldn’t buy alcohol. There was a dance floor in the main part of the club, and as you moved toward the back, there was a room with tables and chairs and a stage where drag queens performed throughout the night. Immediately, I was fascinated.

During the pandemic’s beginning, I began watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, starting with Season 1, Episode 1. From there, I’ve watched every local and international spin-off, and it has been a joy for me. I like to tell people that drag queens got me through the pandemic shutdown.

Through discussing Drag Race on Twitter, I met my friend Connie, who I now go see live drag shows with, particularly from the Drag Race cast. I even recently tried my own hand at drag for a charity event, though it was definitely a challenge. (My drag name was AndroJina).

And recently, through watching Dragula, I am seeing another side of drag that you don’t really see as much through Drag Race.

I’ve learned that I love drag queens, whether a look queen, a comedy queen, a monster queen, or even a social media queen. They bring a unique combination of art, fashion, beauty, and performance that I love. It’s amazing watching drag queens confidently let loose in their performances and create powerful pieces of art while also having fun at the same time. Seeing them transform from within is incredible — drag can be a vehicle for self-expression and empowerment.