“Remember, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here?” This is a phrase/mantra that is explicitly said to all remaining queens at the end of each RuPaul Drag Race. They are drag queens; they have the confidence, the wittiness, and the “I do not care what anyone else thinks” mentality. Is it possible that just because their personalities that they carry with on stage makes the audience happy and they seem to be having the time of their lives on stage, it is not enough to make them happy? Is it? I came to the realization that just because they appear to be happy, successful, and outspoken on the outside, does not mean that they do not have their own personal demons and issues behind closed doors.
“Life Happens to all of us…”
Life happens. Life happens to all of us. Whether it be something small like spilling your morning cup of coffee or something big like being degraded for what you believe in. It is normal and second nature to say, “Oh, just cheer up. It will not ruin your day unless you let it.” “Do not mind them. They do not know what they are talking about.” “Just ignore it.” “Tell them to sashay away.” “Just let it go” is one of my favorites. Why? Because sometimes you cannot let it go no matter how hard you try. Instead, these encounters in life that are perceived as negative self talk, fill your unconscious mind with self- doubt, negative body views, lack of confidence, and self-harm as researchers Burnett and McCrindle discovered from their child study back in 1999. Having those thoughts circulating in your mind for even a minute, can bring a person’s mood down. So, just think. What would happen if you had those thoughts constantly running through your mind, getting louder and louder each time?
The drag community have faced many challenges from the “outside” community, the gay community, and from life itself. The culture of drag is not viewed as normal to the rest of society. Especially those partaking in religion view a male dressing up like a female or vice versa, because that is what the individual feels comfortable in, as a sin. Being gay is still considered widely unaccepted and if you tie that in with being a minority, people view that as being a “subordinate” human being as Joanne D. says in her book called Minority stress among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals: A consequence of heterosexism, homophobia, and stigmatization. All drag artists want is to feel accepted and when a collective of people have built stereotypes and judgements on that lifestyle, it creates self-doubt within the artist.
What do I mean by that? How can an outsider’s opinion influence a person so much that they began to doubt who they are or what they represent? Hind sight is always 20/20 and looking back you may realize that a person who judges may be projecting their insecurities onto you. However, in the moment, we take what people say to us to heart. “You are really fat.” “Why do you look like that?” “You will never make it in life.” “You try too hard.” “You and your kind need to go away.” The list could go on and on. We then turn those outsider opinions into our own personal insecurities and demons.
There is a book I once read called Awakening the Goddess– 33 Sacred Practices For Healing, Self- Love, & Embodying the Divine Feminine by Krystal Aranyani and it states that there comes a time where you have to ask yourself if you want to be ruled by other people’s opinion or your own opinion of yourself. It is easier said than done, believe me I know. Yet, you have to be willing to be able to focus on your growth and know that you do not have to prove yourself to anyone about who you are or your beliefs are. Now, more research on self-image with drag queens needs to be done. Just know that you are not alone when it comes to experiencing these unfortunate circumstances. Just know that you are a QUEEN, in my eyes.
Here is a link you can go to for support in the development of a positive self-image within gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and the community as a whole.