RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 3 episode 5 review: An ode to queer family as the Queens go back to Studio 54

Tom Rasmussen aka Crystal Rasmussen OBE

RuPaul’s Drag Race is so much more than a TV show. A bold statement perhaps, but it’s very much, for its millions of fans worldwide, a way of life.

It changes the way we speak, the show’s queens week-on-week dropping new turns of phrase into our lexicons or new catchphrases we’ll likely see, and buy, on a budget t-shirt. It changes the way many of us gather, whether it's weekly viewing parties in gay bars across Brooklyn or queer housemates who gather ritualistically around a streaming link which buffers slower than Alaska talks, each with their own very strong opinions and fierce defences of their favourite queens. It educates us, offering important lessons on queer living, empathy and essential pop cultural references. And, perhaps paramountly, it’s changed the ways so many of us see ourselves represented on screen: the thing that once saw you outcast or bullied ferociously for at school, here being celebrated and venerated on an international level as the most powerful position. There’s not enough fake eyelashes in the world for the number of baby queens born from the back of seeing themselves reflected on this once cult drag reality TV show.

There’s still a ways to go on the representation front, though — RuPaul strongly affirming that those assigned female at birth who are drag queens aren’t welcome on the show, tweeting a while back that Miss Universe is the arena for that. She’s, unequivocally, wrong and the show should be welcome, in my and many people’s opinion, to all genders and interpretations of drag. But while what we’ve got is indeed far from perfect, RuPaul’s Drag Race is still very much a beacon of better days to come for so many queer viewers and budding drag princesses around the world — and lord knows we deserve it.