I’ve never liked drag. Never. I think it’s absolutely appalling.
However, in the spirit of being open minded and ready to change my mind, and with RuPaul’s Drag Race coming to the UK, I took the plunge, went onto BBC iPlayer and pressed Play.
Within the first five minutes I heard several F words, along with other pleasantries such as “minge”, “twat”, “shag”, “fingered”, “head”, “total slag”, “pussy”, “I’m easy” and the contestants calling each other “bitch”.
I fast forwarded and heard more vulgarity. I fast forwarded again and heard yet more vulgarity. I gave up. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK reinforced my opinion that standard drag is crude, lewd and an utter embarrassment.
A recent survey of young people in the UK found they have less tolerance for LGBT people than other generations. The same survey also found that parents of heterosexual teens did not want their offspring knocking around with LGBT classmates.
This is something LGBT people need to wake up to. The behaviour of the most vocal and visible has an outcome. All those calling JK Rowling a TERF and trying to get her “cancelled”, all those who violently protest women’s meetings – and lesbian meetings – in the name of trans and LGBT rights are causing hatred to rise against us. I also think shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race show LGBT people in a negative light. If all straight people see of gay men is them using hypersexualised language and behaving hypersexually and calling each “bitch”, then of course no mother will want her son to be friends with gay boys. Of course.
I want to talk about alternative drag. I want to talk about someone called Jamie from the north east of England whose drag act is Jamie going through the headlines in mainstream media news. Jamie uses comedy rants à la Rhod Gilbert and their own flair to make several good points. Really entertaining and poignant stuff.
Another act I’ve seen is Bonnie and the Bonnettes. I met B&B while rehearsing for a show and found them to be lovely people. On the back of watching their rehearsal, I took my bestie (a straight man) to see their show Drag Me To Love. Drag Me To Love is the story of how Bonnie (Cameron Sharp) came to be Bonnie, going from closeted drag princess to an adult queen performing with the Bonnettes. The disco diva tracks between the dialogue were well chosen, with Cher’s Do You Believe In Life After Love? sung by Bonette Hattie Eason literally stopped the show and turned it on its head. The second Bonnette Rebecca Glendenning has a real talent for physical comedy, sending up those who try a little bit too hard to perform. I saw B&B rehearse another show called Work And She. It is a celebration of the lives of their mothers and why the group love and honour their mothers.
These two acts are drag but not as the mainstream knows it. They are both fun, non-sexual, uplifting, funny, sweet and affirming. If you want a great night out, go and see Bonnie And The Bonnettes. You will not be disappointed.