RuPaulI’m sure that some people will be about two sentences into this post and have a knee-jerk reaction missing the rest, so, if that is likely to be you, stop now while you’re ahead, OK?

A few persons are all up in arms over a parody video created by Pittsburgh Drag Artist and performer, Alaska Thunderfuck. Heavens, it is outrageous if you listen to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blogger, Sue Kerr. But is it, really? I found it both tremendously funny, and a little problematic and I’ll try to explain why.




The video is one of the latest installments in a recently ongoing anti-drag skirmish started by a transgender blogger. The whole little battle is both infuriating and interesting, but at the root of it, is the notion that there are words that drags can’t use because they are cis and not trans. Regarding the real issue, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Logo TV thanked everyone for their input and made changes to the show accordingly. The skit that started the outrage was offensive and obnoxious. Some comedy falls flat on its face in failure, and I think this skit was a perfect example. But the level of outrage and self-righteousness was way over the top, in my opinion.

So lets get to the video at hand. Alaska, a drag who was a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, created a parody video that is placed years and years into the future. It pokes fun at the show itself, the judges, as well as the recent controversy. The events happen within an episode billed as a cross between the hunger games like “battle to the death.”  The episode is interrupted by a person who has trouble with the words and language being used. The Glowing Orb of Light (another jab at the show itself) has had enough and uses a blow dryer, a tool precious to any queen, to take out the interrupter. You know how deadly a blow dryer can be!

If you take only the references listed so far, you can already see the wit of the humor. The reference to Hunger Games makes a valuable stepping off point. I remember when I first heard of a movie about kids killing other kids I was outraged and refused to se the film. Fortunately, I was open minded enough to learn a little more about the movie, and when I did see it, found it very interesting. The Hunger Games illustrates a world where a select few choose how the rest will act and feel and live. The masses accept participation in the violence as if it is the only option.

Sue Kerr remarks, “This is no parody…” but I can’t believe anyone with any brain cells could watch the video and not see it as parody.

There are a few other references that I think make the video exemplary in addition to being humorous. As we watch gun laws weakened across the county, we are developing a society hellbent on using violence anytime we disagree over something, and in true drag style this is made larger than life and lipstick wounds.

Still, the video is over the top and crosses a boundary to be sure. Drag proponents will say that that is exactly what Drag does- cross the boundaries and I admit I fall into that group. But the question is raised and it is a valuable one- is it ever acceptable to illustrate violence against a trans person? In the real world there is so much real violence against trans people, can there be any value for a parody to suggest it? I think the answer is no. Suggesting violence against real trans persons is not OK.

I just can’t see this video as having done that. The character in the video “Joy Less” is such an over the top caricature and so clearly not really trans. The only people who, in my opinion, are going to be outraged at this are those who haven’t watched the video or who want to perpetuate a status of victimhood for trans persons.

An unrelated event that has crossed my newsfeed is this: “California judge flushes bathroom bill repeal effort” about the efforts of the Privacy for All Students coalition (PFAS) to stop legal protections for Trans youth in California. Here’s an effort that affects and harms real trans persons, but you don’t read any outrage or uproar over it.  Nada.Why is that? Why is is that a male drag performer is set up as the move vile thing out there for a parody video, but most turn a blind eye to the real vie actions in our society?  In my opinion the anti-drag efforts of a few are really anti-gay efforts that grow from an internalized homophobia.  There is plenty in RuPaul’s show that will offend someone. Drag breaks boundaries.

Now, sissy that walk, get to werk, and sashay away!

Blogger’s note:
A reader called me out over a statement I made in this post. She is correct- there was outrage expressed over the CA amendment, and at least one trans person covered it in great depth. I was wrong to say, “no outrage.” I think the more correct expression of my sentiment is that the level of outrage expressed by a large number of people over this video or the RuPaul incident itself is staggeringly huge compared to the level of outrage over an effort that affects real trans persons.