Below, some nuggets from RuPaul’s unusually incisive and thought-provoking interview with Vulture.
On taking “She-Mail” out of RuPaul’s Drag Race:
I didn’t do that. The network did that, and you’d have to ask them why they did it, but I had nothing to do with that… The intention behind that word is a portmanteau that was meant as a way to be fun and to enjoy language. I talked earlier about the sweet, sensitive souls who find this world, when they uncover life’s cruel hoax. The first stage is anger. Then bitterness. The third stage is laughter and irreverence and understanding that, “Oh! I can have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. Have fun with it.” So twist a phrase, curl a word, paint on a mustache. We do not stand on ceremony, and we do not take words seriously. We do take feelings seriously and intention seriously, and the intention is not to be hateful at all. But if you are trigger-happy and you’re looking for a reason to reinforce your own victimhood, your own perception of yourself as a victim, you’ll look for anything that will reinforce that.”
On drag’s relationship to the trans community:
I think it’s a boring topic. I don’t really want to talk about that because everybody wants to ask about that. It’s so topical, but they’re complete opposites. We mock identity. They take identity very seriously. So it’s the complete opposite ends of the scale. To a layperson, it seems very similar, but it’s really not… Some people take identity very seriously. I don’t. I choose to laugh at identity and play with it. I’ll wear a suit or I’ll wear a sailor’s outfit. I’ll dress femme. I’ll dress butch queen, which is the name of my new album, by the way. I’ll do whatever. All of the experiences I’ve learned and every ascended master you’ve studied will say the exact same thing: Life is not to be taken seriously. Most people are dumb as fuck. If you look at their voting habits and their eating habits, you realize people are stupid. So we could talk about stupid people or we could just stay with smart people who know how to have fun and not even focus on what dumb people do. It’s not worth it. I tell you this as someone who’s a smart motherfucker: Don’t waste your time fooling with dumb people or trying to figure them out or trying to educate them. It doesn’t work. It’s a lose-lose situation.”
On straight culture’s penchant for stealing from gay culture:
Regular, straight pop culture has liberally lifted things from gay culture as long as I can remember. And that’s fine, because guess what? We have so much more where that comes from. Take it! …. This so-called “Will & Grace acceptance” era is just people f**king posing. Things haven’t changed that much. You see it in politics right now — that’s the fu**ing truth of people. And you know, people will have you think, “Oh, we’re fashion. We’re gay. That’s my gay over there!” It’s like, no. We’re still a very, very, very primitive culture. “
The whole interview can — and should — be read here.