For Our Consideration: RuPaul’s Drag Race is an oasis for gay viewers in a fraught political climate

For decades, drag shows have provided gay men a place where they can congregate and celebrate the things that they are ridiculed for by a society with rigid views of masculinity. Drag is all about the performance of gender, and it’s an art form that compels the artist and the audience to reconsider gender norms and find strength in tearing them down. It’s a provocative idea, and RuPaul Charles has been largely responsible for bringing it into mainstream culture.

RuPaul rose to fame in the early ’90s with his song “Supermodel (You Better Work),” and he became a household name with appearances in television shows and movies that highlighted his bold personality and sharp comedic talent. His star began to fade when conservative values took hold of the country during George W. Bush’s presidency, but was reignited by the 2009 debut of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a …