My Gay Icon: RuPaul Andre Charles

Say it with me…

RuPaul Andre Charles. I mean, doesn’t the name alone scream ‘ICON’? I, personally, have a heart full of emotions when I say his name. But for those of you who didn’t just then? Let me tell you why you should.

RuPaul is a gay icon in the truest sense of the term. But I’m going to take it a step further and say that not only is he a gay icon, but simply, an icon.

Ru has broken down walls and barriers, leaped over the kind of hurdles that’d make Jessica Ennis jealous, and has looked every single hater in the eye while climbing to the top of a business he was told he’d have no chance at breaking into.

One of the things I have always admired about Ru is his innate ability to find the love and beauty in everyone. Everyone has a place in this world. And even people that most would consider hateful, Ru sees the good in them. To be able to see what we all see, but rise above and choose love over fear is no small feat. Watching RuPaul interact with strangers is one of my favourite pastimes. Seeing how they all gag and fawn over him when they meet him, and watching him check out their energy is quite something to behold. He’s such a calming entity, but at the same time bursting with energy, love and joy. Who does that? RuPaul does, that’s who.

Heres the thing that we all need to remember: Ru was Ru when being Ru was not coo’ – don’t hate a girl for trying to bust a rhyme. Ru was Ru when it wasn’t easy. Ru was Ru when everyone looked at him and called him a freak – which has always been a compliment to both of us. Ru was Ru when it wasn’t easy to be Ru, but it was all he could do.

To me, the term ‘icon’ is thrown around way too often, way too liberally and without care. It waters down the true meaning of such a powerful word. A true icon isn’t just about what they look like. For me, it’s more about the past, the journey they took to become who they are, and what they’ve had to overcome to EARN that title. It’s about a legacy.

Too many young gays today have NO idea why it’s so easy – or maybe not easy, but much easIER – for them to just come out, be out and stay out without looking back. They don’t know who fought the fight before them, whose lives were permanently affected by living the way they wanted to live it, who went to jail for their personal freedoms. People like Ru, among a HOST of other legends and icons too, have done just that so that the kids today can live their life in the truest way possible.

RuPaul has done exactly the opposite of what people think they need to do to ‘make it’ in life. He started out with the odds never in his favour and ended up the Victor/Victoria with nothing but talent, grit and determination.

Ru continues to grow as a person and share his love with the world. He’s the most spiritually evolved person that I know personally and, the best part is, he’s done it all himself. Everything he’s overcome, he gives back in spades. He’s still breaking down walls and bringing the art of drag to the biggest, most accepted platform yet; RuPaul’s Drag Race. There are a tonne of fierce queens in this world, but NO ONE could have brought it to this point but Ru.

An icon is someone who keeps on keepin’ on in the face of adversity and says ‘fuck you’ to the people who tell you that you can’t. Ru did just that many times over and will continue to do so until his last day here on Earth.

So here’s where I say thank you to my bestie Ru for all that he does for the community and for the art of drag, which would still be relegated to the local gay clubs and kept a dark secret if it weren’t for him. You’ve changed my life in ways you will never realise Ru, and baby, YOU represent the true meaning of the world ‘ICON’.

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