Celebrating LGBT History Month - A New Star in the Gender Bending World of RuPaul’s Drag Race
In honour of LGBTQ+ month it would be a dishonour to the community not to mention the iconic show that is ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’.
Over the years RuPaul has fought to raise awareness surrounding the gay community and enlighten a wider audience. In the latest season of Drag Race, there is a colourful mix of interesting and entertaining contestants to laugh and cry with. Some may say that after 13 years running, they’ve seen it all before. However, the show always manages to surprise, and this season was no exception. This season we get to meet the insanely talented fashionista, Kade Gottlieb a.k.a Gottmik. Of course, we have seen many contestants have a flare for fashion in the past but what makes Gottmik differ from the rest is that he was actually born female. In other words, he is a proud transgender man who puts make up on and transforms into a woman on stage. This might be quite a concept to get your head around at first, but once the dust settles, you may realise that it is absolutely brilliant!
In the past, when you thought of drag it could be said the first thing that came to mind was a flamboyant, homosexual man in a dress. Not anymore! Drag Race has shown its viewers over the years that its’ contestants come from all walks of life. In the most recent seasons, Drag Race has done a good job in improving their inclusivity, by including a variety of contestants ranging from trans women, non-binary people and even straight men. Nevertheless, if you thought that the world of drag stopped there you were very mistaken. Here comes Gottmik to challenge our limited view on gender. According to Kade, ‘Gender is a crazy spectrum, and you can fall anywhere on it’.  Trying to understand why a trans man would want to look and sound female may be quite intriguing but at the end of the day, drag is an art form and what Gottmik is doing is most definitely artistic expression and is a sign of the times.
RuPaul himself has said that with these changing times even his view on drag keeps evolving.  The drag community seems to be opening up and becoming the massive, wonderful art form that has a place for everyone to express themselves, regardless of gender, race and sexuality. Therefore, it seems fitting that even RuPauls’ catch phrase that we’ve come to know and love has changed from ‘Gentlemen start your engines and may the best woman win’ to ‘Racers start your engines and may the best drag queen win’. So, to celebrate LGBTQ+ month and its diverse community pop Netflix on and enjoy the wonderful world of drag.
Written by Katie Nikolaou, BA (Hons) Media Communication Cultures
Find out more about LGBT+ History Month leedsbeckett.ac.uk/lgbtq-history-month/