Any expectations that you may have for DragCon will be exceeded the moment you walk into the Los Angeles Convention Center. The 3rd Annual drag art and culture celebration kicked off this past weekend and it was two full days of happiness, inclusion, glitter, heels, dresses, wigs and crowns – lots and lots of crowns. Full disclosure: my knowledge of RuPaul and Drag Queens was limited before I attended DragCon but it was in the middle of that Pink carpet that the power of what RuPaul has created truly hit me.
If I could create my “Happy Place” it would be standing in front of the doors at the Los Angeles Convention Center as everyone is walking in; the excitement and pure joy on everyone’s faces is what happiness is truly made of. RuPaul has created a safe place; living in Los Angeles is like living in a bubble of acceptance and unique individuals so it can be easy to forget that the rest of the United States is struggling to be on the same page. Attending DragCon was a refreshing reminder that even through the set-backs, progress is being made. You saw the progress in the families walking on that pink carpet, you saw it on the teenage boys who unapologetically stood in their face full of make-up, the progress was felt when you saw the groups of Drag Queens excitedly running towards each other and the progress was discussed in the panels that were held on the second floor of the Convention Center.
Sasha Velour put it best when she stated, “Our existence is an act of resistance” during the “Art of Resistance” panel. Fully aware of the power that their mere existence has is the reason why every Drag Queen is making an impact in this world. Sure, the convention was full of vendors selling any and all items you may need; make-up, boots, crowns, wigs, butt padding, boob padding, crowns, waist padding, purses, t-shirts – did I mention crowns? Truth be told, I’m disappointed I didn’t buy myself a crown. More than that though, the convention was a celebration for anyone who is different; it was a safe place for anyone who has felt discriminated against but even more than that it was an all-inclusive club for anyone in need of a loving community.
It was during the “What is Drag in Trump’s America?” Panel where the most insightful conversations happened. This is where my love for Bob the Drag Queen ignited, “Trump is not the problem, Trump is a symptom”; fully aware that resistance is a necessity she reminded the audience that America has gone through worse times. Alaska stood in her truth when she stated, “Drag is real. We are so fake that something real actually comes through” and Eureka uses her platform to try to make teenagers feel accepted, “Exposure is the biggest step to keep persecution and discrimination out of our younger generation”.
I arrived at the Convention Center needing my friend to explain each Drag Queen to me and I walked out that afternoon with a true affection for Bob the Drag Queen, Saha Velour, Alaska Thunderfuck and Eureka O’Hara. The convention served as a 2-day break from the depressing news-headlines that we see every morning; it served as a realization that I’m not the only one feeling lost and alone. It was a reminder that sometimes just being yourself is enough to make an impact in this world. It celebrated beautiful and spectacular art, it was a weekend full of glitter and heels that I wouldn’t dare walk in but more than that it was a weekend that brought smiles to many faces and RuPaul should feel extremely proud of the world he has created. Let Bob the Drag Queen remind you and encourage you to go create and change the world, “In politically treacherous times art becomes strong”.