RuPaul’s Drag Race stars talk about the serious side of Pride: “They were literally marching for their lives”

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·3-min read

Watch: Peppermint, Blu, Baga and Vinegar discuss why Pride is so important to them

While Pride is often synonymous with partying and celebrating the LGBTQ community, it’s not always the case the world over.

Speaking on the latest episode of Reality Check, drag superstar Peppermint, who found fame on the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, said that in some countries, taking part in Pride is actually really dangerous.

She was chatting with fellow Drag Race stars Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea and Vinegar Strokes about her experience of Euro Pride in Latvia, Eastern Europe.

Read more: RuPaul Drag Race stars say that anyone can be a drag queen

“There were people lining the streets screaming - but they were not screaming support,” she told her fellow queens.

“They were throwing, eggs at us. In the past though, they had thrown all kinds of stuff - even bricks. People have been hurt before.

Listen: Mobility scooters, economic empowerment and hook ups - the dragony queens share their Pride experiences

“They were marching, not because they wanted to get drunk at the club or because they wanted to have a party or hook up with somebody. It felt as though they were literally marching for their lives.”

As Chipz reminded the other queens, even though Pride is a big party for many, it’s also a time to remember how the whole event begun.

“You’ve got to think of Stonewall and the people who threw the first stone,” she said.

She continued: “The trans women of colour, the drag queens, the lesbians, the bisexuals, the non-binaries. Just remember those who came before us - they walked so we could strut.”

The first Pride was held in New York on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which took place a year earlier after police raided a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. Patrons of the bar fought the police when the raid turned violent and it became a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement.

Read more: Pride in London: What is the history of the annual parade?

Peppermint said that even though her experience of Pride in Latvia wasn’t great, she was overwhelmed by the attitude of all those marching on the day.

She said: “One of the things that was still there, was like all of this joy of the people who were marching, that they kind of had this defiance and they had pride.”

Hydrangea knows exactly how those people felt – coming from Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriages have only just become legal, Pride has always meant a huge deal to the makeup queen.

“Pride means a lot to me, especially in Northern Ireland with marriage equality being such a big deal at the moment,” she told the others.

She continued: “I mean, now it's been passed, this year should have been our Pride where we got to stomp the streets with our equality and live our best lives. It's always been a statement of rights. It's a protest. I love Pride.”

Read more: Why corporates are essential at Pride

Peppermint believes Pride is such an individual experience, but for her, it’s about feeling empowered.

“It's so interesting that Pride is something different to everyone,” she said.

“For some it's just to let go and release. For some, it's a statement of and claiming our rights and really asserting our identity and for some of us… it is economic empowerment. That's when queens earn our coin, honey!”

Watch: The dos and don’ts of Pride