Samuel Hacking-Brian performs as sociopolitical queen Eileen Bothways, yet feels there is no space to fill on RuPaul’s Drag Race UKSamuel Hacking-Brian
When I first met Samuel, he introduced himself as Sarah.
Sarah was petite, long-haired, vivacious and the spitting image of an actress I couldn’t remember the name of. I never occurred to me that Sarah might not be a woman.
Not then and in the six years that followed. Over a decade I saw ‘Sarah’ get married, become a beloved fixture of London’s burlesque and drag scene, and even find accidental success making ethical taxidermy jewellery for stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
When RuPaul’s all-American Netflix empire announced it would finally launch a UK series last week, ‘Sarah’ (now Samuel) was the first person that came to mind. Though the Race had always felt like a phenomenal platform for queer acceptance and inclusivity, it does a fantastic job of excluding the genderqueer.
Samuel, like many others, identifies as trans non-binary; the cursory catch-all for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Logically, it seems right up RuPaul’s street. In actuality, the Drag Race doesn’t veer off cisnormativity.
The leaps and bounds RuPaul and his clever confidantes have made for the LGBT community is undeniable. My worry, quite simply, is that its penchant for gay cis male queens alienates everyone who doesn’t fit into that quasi-phobic box.