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RuPaul on Marriage Equality: We Live in an Era of Openness, But That Window Could Close

Singer and actor RuPaul has made over a dozen albums, and hosts Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” In 1999, he was GLAAD’s entertainer of the year.

What is the role of Hollywood in shaping the conversation about same-sex marriage?

Hollywood does not have a moral obligation; Hollywood has a monetary obligation. Hollywood is a reflection of how people live their lives. It doesn’t dictate. I always laugh when people try to blame everything on Hollywood. Hollywood is reflecting our spending habits.

Will drag culture become mainstream?

Drag will always live on the fringe, because at its core it mocks the matrix; it mocks identity. It will never be mainstream because most people can’t accept the idea that they are not who it says they are on their driver’s license or their birth certificate. It’s a concept that would force them to deconstruct their whole belief system, and no one’s going to do that.

In the late ’80s, could you have imagined same-sex marriage being legalized?

Yeah. I absolutely would have imagined that. I’ve been on the planet for a few years now, and everything’s cyclical. These windows of openness are literally that: They open and they close. During the disco era we thought: “Oh my God, this is great; we’re going to be like this forever!” Think again. It shut down so fast, people’s heads were spinning. It didn’t go away, it just changed its name and address. There was a certain degree of openness that happened during the Obama era; certainly during the Clinton era, and during the late ’70s. But humans feel more comfortable in fear than they do in love and openness. So did I expect this (marriage equality) to happen? Yeah! It’s obvious. If I’m paying taxes, you better g–damn well give me the same rights that everybody else gets.

Show business is not dictated by ideology, but should it be different?

No, it shouldn’t. We were raised with the idea of fairness and equality that is quite frankly juvenile. Kindergartners are raised with “One for you, one for me.” But that isn’t how nature works. The strong survive and the weak will fall away. So if (a show makes) money, it’ll keep going. If it’s not making money, it won’t have the support system. That’s the law of nature. Should media make everything this fairy-tale idea of fairness? No. That’s not what it’s there for. If that’s what you want, you teach your kids that. You don’t get that from television, you get that from your parents. And if you’re a parent and you can’t teach your kid that, don’t have a f–cking kid.

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