Rupaul Andre Charles
RUPAUL ANDRE CHARLES 11
RuPaulAndre Charles an American model, author, actor, recording artist, anddrag queen. RuPaul was born on November 17, 1960. He initially roseto the limelight back in 1990s after appearing in a series ofsuccessful television shows, musical albums, and films. Prior tobecoming a star, he worked in New York City and Atlanta club scenesas a fixture. Although he is famous for acting scenes, which depictswomen, he has also acted as a man in some roles. RuPaul is famousamong drag queens because of his coldness concerning specificpronouns used with genders. He asserts that whether someone addresseshim as “he," “she” or ”Regis and Kathie Lee” he wascomfortable with the names. For a short time, he was a host in ashort running talk show at VH1. Presently, he is the host of theRuPaul’sDrag Race realitytelevision show (Siann, 1994).
I.Sex Vs. Gender
RuPaulis an African American male. However, he has refused to be linkedwith any gender. He is reputed because he asserted, "Youcan call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and KathieLee I don`t care! Just as long as you call me(RuPaul, 1995)." This statement implies that he does not want toget associated any gender. Although he dresses as a woman in hisfamous drag queen stunts, he emphasizes that he is gay. According topsychologists, RuPaul suffers from severe gender identity disorderbecause he is a man, but he is famous for dressing and behaving likea woman. Surhone et al. (2010) assert that cross-dressing is a signof transgender. However, the researchers counterclaim thatcross-dressing does not always portray craving for genderreassignment or homosexuality. In addition to cross-dressing, Rupalis an international supermodel signed by MAC cosmetics. The MAC’scontract made RuPaul the first drag queen supermodel (Surhone et al.,2010). RuPaul’s cross-gender condition began at early stages. Inhis bibliography, he claims that he began dressing like a woman inhis teenage years. He used to dress on his sisters’ clothes. Backin 1993, he recorded dance/house albums, including, the “supermodelof the world (Pullen & Cooper, 2010).” The albums weredistributed in the rap label called “Tommy Boy,” which includedthe dance label hit the “Supermodel (You Better Work)."Although the gangsta and grunge rap were the trendy music back then,RuPaul’s label attained unprecedented triumph on MTV channels. Thesong reached position 45 at the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, thetrack also appeared on the UKsingles Chart andpeaked at position 39. Other avenues that helped to popularizeRuPaul’s music include the US dance charts, television appearances,high airplay, and significant circulation of the music video at theMTV network (Lee, 2004).
TheLesbians, Gay, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) refer to agroup of people with diverse gender. RuPaul is a member of this popculture since he is a self-confessed gay. Despite the fact that he isa drag queen, and psychologists claim that he suffers fromgender-identity disorder that makes him behave like a girl, RuPaul isa strong advocate for the LGBTQ rights. He has confessed in publicthat he is gay, and he lost his virginity to a thirty-six years oldman, just a week after his eighteenth birthday. RuPaul is credited toas the first person to popularize homosexual acts. Back in 1992, hehired Zaldy (his costume designer) and Mathu as his make-up artist(Siann, 1994). The two artists scrutinized RuPaul’s body anddesigned his most famous costumes. In his movies, interviews andbooks, RuPaul has stated on many occasions that he does not carewhether people view him as a woman or man. He has proven hisassertion right since he has been a dancer and an actor, sometimesrepresenting the roles of women in the films, and at other instancesas a woman (Lee, 2004). Although RuPaul was already famous as adancer in clubs located in Georgia, he performed his first gay stuntin 1994. This was after the tremendous breakthrough of his single"Supermodel(You Better Work)"track. He conducted the 1994 performance at a Gay Rights conferencein Washington D.C., at the same spot Martin Luther King had deliveredhis infamous speech of “I Have a Dream (Russell & Cohn, 2012).”In 1999, TheGay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation(GLAAD) media awards honored RuPaul with the VitoRusso Entertainer of The yearfor allegedly breaking the previous limits and surpassing theboundaries after he became open as a gay person who had attainedsuccess in the Entertainment field (RuPaul, 1995). In addition, GLAADalso honored RuPaul because of enhancing his visibility andappreciation interests of the LGBTQ society via his work (Surhone etal., 2010). In 2002, RuPaul also earned the honor of the “LifetimeAchievement Award” from the Most Beautiful Transsexuals in theWorld Association. His reward was for recognizing his extendedlobbying for the Gay and Lesbian community. RuPaul receivedcommendation for the MostBeautiful Transsexuals in the World Associationto honor his more than a decade dedication to promoting LGBTQinterests through dances, music, and movies that helped him to createtrends and allure in the entertain sector. In the 2004 RedHot album,he challenged the implication of being black, gay, as well as a dragqueen through featuring dialogues centered on racism and race.Moreover, he featured Shirley Q. Liquor who was a blackface dragpersonality (Pullen & Cooper, 2010).
Throughouthis life, RuPaul depicted gender has strongly opposed sex and genderbinaries. For example, he is popular drag queen because he claimsthat he is comfortable with whichever gender people decide to assignhim. In one of the interviews, he asserted, "Youcan call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and KathieLee I don`t care! Just as long as you call me (RuPaul,1995)." Sex: The Revolution is a documentary miniseries createdin 2008, and it contained four sections, which were broadcast at TheSundance Channel and the VH1. The film documents significantsexuality interests that occurred in the US between 1950s and 1990s(Lee, 2004). One of the notable sexual liberation that happenedduring this period included adoption of sexual behaviors that werepreviously deemed unethical. However, the introduction of the familyplanning pills, coils and other birth control methods relaxed therestriction of intercourse that occurred outside of monogamousrelationships and many people became married since they could haveextramarital affairs without feeling extremely guilty (Surhone etal., 2010). The introduction of the Intrauterine Devices (IUD)increased the birth control strategies available to women. From 1965,sex without procreation, as well as possible because women had avariety of effective birth control techniques at their disposal.Originally, the contraceptives were only legal for married women in1965, but subsequent amendment of the policy legalized use ofcontraceptives among unmarried couples in 1972. The 1973 wascharacterized by legalization of abortion, as well increased supplyof self-help books (Siann, 1994). Furthermore, homosexuality was alsodisqualified from the list of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manualof Mental Disorders (DSM). Prior to 1973, public display ofhomosexual behaviors was considered as a mental condition andillegal. People showing homosexual orientation behaviors were subjectto compulsory mental treatment. However, after 1973, vibrantactivists such as RuPaul declared their sexuality publicly. Heperformed in public gay rallies, such as the one in the 1993Washington D.C rally (RuPaul, 1995). He claimed that he did not carewhether people consider him a man or a woman, because that would notchange his actual self. His movies, music, and shows promotedhomosexual activities openly, such that the LGBTQ communityconsidered him the benchmark of the community advocacy (Pullen &Cooper, 2010).
RuPaulhas increased his gender gap through holding controversial beliefssuch as it is normal to be gay. Several LGBTQ organizations havehonored him with a variety of rewards because of his outstandingeffort in demanding the rights of the homosexual persons. Inaddition, RuPaul has gained popularity as drag queen. According tohis autobiography, he developed a passion in cross-dressing when hewas a teenager. He started by wearing his sisters’ clothes when hewas at home, just for the fun (Russell & Cohn, 2012). The bioalso notes that RuPaul’s friend often said that he resembled awoman. This gender gap assertion is probably true considering that heis presently considered as the most successful drag queen in theworld (Lee, 2004). However, despite the fact that RuPaul claims thathe is comfortable to identify himself with both male and sex gendershe is also a self-confessed homosexual. His effort in promoting thegay rights has been the significance, especially because he holds apowerful and influential position. After he released the “Supermodel(You Better Work)” hit dance, he was given the opportunity toperform in the 1993 gay rights conference hosted at the WashingtonD.C. according to some psychologists, RuPaul suffers from a severegender identity, which enhances his gender gap. Although he is a man,he tends to be comfortable when he is expressing himself as a woman(Pullen & Cooper, 2010). Zaldy (RuPaul’s costume designer) andMathu (his make-up artist) comments that their client’s physiqueresembles that of a woman (Russell & Cohn, 2012). He is slim andwith flexible joints, that helps him to dance, as well as mimic movesby women. RuPaul’s excellent depiction of woman-like characters,when disguised as a drag queen, won him MAC cosmetic is contracts(RuPaul, 1995). The company uses him as the face of their brand. Inthe company’s ads, he introduces himself, “I am The MAC Girl.”The modeling role with MAC cosmetics qualified him as the mostsuccessful drag queen in the industry (Siann, 1994).
Insummary, RuPaul Andre Charles is a successful media personality, whois alleged to suffer from gender identity disorder. However, hecontends that he does not suffer from the condition as he is justself-expressed and honest about his sexual orientation. RuPaul’sgender gap is significantly high since he is classified as the mostsuccessful drag queen of all times in the US. Nonetheless, RuPauloften claims in public that he is a homosexual. He has often used hisreputation and success as a media personality to advocate for theLGBTQ community. His unrelenting effort towards promoting theinterests of the homosexuals has earned him several accolades andrewards from various LGBTQ societies such as TheGay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation(GLAAD) media and the MostBeautiful Transsexuals in the World Association.
Surhone,L.M., Timpledon, M.T. & Marseken, S.F. (2010). RuPaul.VDM Publishing
RuPaul,A.C. (1995). Lettinit all hang out: An autobiography.New York: Hyperion.
Russell,J. & Cohn, R. (2012). Rupaul.Book on Demand.
Lee,J. W. (2004). Psychologyof gender identity.New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Pullen,C., & Cooper, M. (2010). LGBTidentity and online new media.New York: Routledge.
Siann,G. (1994). Gender,sex and sexuality: Contemporary psychological perspectives.London [u.a.: Taylor & Francis.