RuPaul spoke in an interview last week about a hotly contested issue within the LGBTQ community: the practice of straight women using gay bars as the sites for their bachelorette parties and the larger cultural problem it illustrates.
Speaking to podcast “Dinner Party Download,” Ru did not mince words about his feelings. In the eyes of the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” host, the treatment of gay bars as “tourist” destinations by straight women speaks to a more macro issue: treating gay people as accessories to straight life.
“Check yourself before you wreck yourself,” Ru says, adding: “You know, this is an important thing: People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone else is there to serve them.”
“So I’m a brown-skinned gay man,” he continued. “You know, I do drag. Early on, I learned that I could do it well and make money. So people automatically ask me about beauty tips. And I get kids who write me and say, ‘I wish you could do my makeup for my prom?’ Or, ‘I wish you could do my makeup for my wedding?’ I’m like, ‘Bitch, I’m not a makeup artist. I’m an enter-taint-er! OK?’”
Ru also added that this idea of gay people existing in or for the service of straight people is something LGBTQ people are all too familiar with, because straight people are unsure how to understand gay people in relation to themselves.
“People don’t know how to place me in their consciousness,” Ru said. “They think, ‘Oh, you must be here to make me look good. That’s what gay guys are, right? You’re an accessory for my straight life.’ Just because your limited view is that everyone’s there to serve you and that you’re the only person in the world. It doesn’t work that way.”
While straight, cisgender people are of course welcome in LGBTQ spaces, it’s important to be aware of what these spaces represent to those in the community and a straight person’s relationship to them.