Considering the hearty number of amens flying, tears flowing, and compassionate nodding that made up the reunion episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10, the hour-long program often felt like a Sunday sermon. And while it technically wasn't, spirituality was one of the main pillars of the raw dialogue that took place on the show. The emotional RuPaul's Drag Race reunion talked about religion and acceptance in drag, and it really tugged at the heartstrings of viewers.
It all started when Ru asked Dusty Ray Bottoms about her coming out story, and how it was impacted by her conservative, religious family. "They took me to church," she said on the show. "They got me exorcised because they thought I was possessed by a gay demon." She went on to explain the basics of conversion therapy as "a cleanse and a confession," and how humiliating it was for her to experience. After being told during therapy that she couldn't live a successful life as her authentic self, she decided she'd had enough and packed up her car for life in New York City. Now, she says her drag family gives her the love and support that she needs.
"The people who saw me shine, that needed to be there for me became my tribe," Dusty said. But she added that it would still be nice to have the support of her parents. Although they've moved past Dusty's leaving home, they still have opposing views on sexuality and drag. "I love my chosen family, I am so very lucky," she said. "But it's just really hard to have strangers come up to you and say that 'I look up to you, I'm so proud of you, I'm cheering you on,' and then you don't have those people that you wish were there the most, saying 'We are proud of you' ... I'm good. My life is good. It could just be better that way, that's all." And the church said amen.
In her time on the show, Monique Heart refrained from opening up about her spirituality when other queens did. However, she made it known during the reunion episode that her faith is a huge part of her life, and so is her mom, with whom she shared her faith growing up through their joint efforts in ministry. But drag eventually drove a wedge between them and the faith they shared. "My momma's my everything, you know what I mean?" she said on the show. "And I didn't talk to her for like four years."
That isolation made Monique feel like she only had "Jesus and glitter and rhinestones." Despite the societal barriers that tried to separate her, as a gay man and a drag queen, from her faith, she decided instead to embrace it as her strength. "Psalms 1:10 says, 'He wraps himself in a garment of light,'" she said at the reunion. "Dulce can't do that. Versace can't do that!" And again, the church said amen.
As if those queens' stories weren't poignant enough, Blair St. Clair then reflected on the moment she shared her truth with the world. On the night she was eliminated from Drag Race, she revealed that she was sexually assaulted at a party in college. "Sometimes your heart knows you're ready to talk before your brain does,"' she said. Now, she is in recovery for the alcohol addiction that resulted from her trauma. "What I've experienced in my spiritual growth is that I am a more humbled, caring, thoughtful person," she said. "And it has truly changed my life."
Leave it to Drag Race to give viewers a little bit of everything. There's always a laugh and always a tear, but this week, Ru and the queens took us to church. Amen to that.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.