RuPaul to Republicans — don’t be a drag
Drag queen RuPaul crashed New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary scene on Saturday to clear up a possible case of mistaken identity for voters who might not have been paying close attention.
Most would not mistake the notorious celebrity — singer, actor, reality TV star and the first drag queen supermodel — for Ron Paul, the crusty, 76-year-old Congressman and former obstetrician. But just in case…
“I am NOT Ron Paul, and I’m not running for President!” RuPaul exclaimed during a high-energy visit to the tiny Red Arrow Diner in downtown Manchester, which has hosted more than its fair share of celebrities and political luminaries. A large number of local gays and lesbians, as well as adoring fans of all stripes, came out for the occasion.
“Contrary to recent reports, I did not come in third in the Iowa caucus. I am not even a member of the Republican Party. But I am a proud American,” he said. “You better vote!”
RuPaul was not in drag on Saturday, but looked spry in a stylish teal, double-breasted suit and black fisherman’s cap.
“I do have a message for Ron Paul, and to all the Republican candidates,” said RuPaul, 51. “If you can’t love yourself, how the HELL are you going to love somebody else?”
RuPaul vigorously denied that he was merely trying to promote his cable television show, “RuPaul’s Drag U,” a reality series featuring RuPaul and a team of drag queen “professors,” the new season of which, by the way, starts Jan. 30 on Logo.
“I want you to know that this is NOT a cheap publicity stunt,” said RuPaul. “I flew here first class!”
Michelle Stoner, 42, and her wife Chris Stoner, 39, drove 90 minutes from their home in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, to see RuPaul. The pair married after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004. It has also been legal in New Hampshire since 2010.
The two were not disappointed that RuPaul didn’t arrive in drag. “Ru is Ru, and is beautiful as a man or a woman,” Stoner said.
GeeGee Louise, 19, who works as a burlesque dancer in Boston, said seeing Paul was inspirational and hilarious. “Oh my god, he’s the queen of drag. It’s just so great that he’s so confident and so true to himself. He’s all about self-confidence, it’s an inspiration.”
Many in the crowd were aware of comments made on Thursday in New Hampshire by Republican contender Rick Santorum — who has a contentious, to say the least, history with the gay community — comparing same-sex marriage to polygamy. “Santorum is heading backward when we need to go forward,” said Karen Ellis, 40, of Manchester.
As RuPaul left, many in the crowd were heading off for early-morning mimosas at a nearby bar, and preparing for a gay pride rally and march on Saturday afternoon. Pride marches typically take place in June, but the presence in New Hampshire of so many conservative politicians is too good a chance to pass up, they said. “We’re going to show the candidates that gay rights matter,” said Jeff Kramer, 27, a student at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
RuPaul said he was spreading a message of tolerance.
“Let’s not forget, this country was founded by a bunch of men in wigs. Am I right?” RuPaul asked his fans, to cheers. “When a man walks outside in a wig and a pair of cha-cha heels, he is making a political statement.”
Photo credits: Ros Krasny