RuPaul Inappropriate Black History Month Role Model, Says LA Mayor. Just Like OJ Simpson!

The LA Unified School District is in trouble and three teachers have been suspended over a controversial Black History Month celebration which encouraged students to honor OJ Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul. The general assumption is that the choice to honor these three rascals was a “stunt” pulled by insensitive teachers who thought the whole thing was very funny.

But um, what’s so funny about RuPaul? And why are we comparing RuPaul to a man who stood trial for the murder of his ex-wife and a hard-partying basketball player who we just saw last night on Celebrity Rehab? RuPaul has released multiple albums, been in a ton of movies and TV shows and now hosts a  show on Logo and she has done all of this without ever compromising who she is. She’s never gotten embroiled in any kind of controversy and she’s a successful businessperson and entrepreneur who’s built quite a brand around herself.

Mayor Villarigosa is pissed:

“I am shocked and outraged by the actions of these teachers at Wadsworth Elementary School. These teachers undermined the school’s well-intentioned celebration, and they did so at the expense of elementary school students. Their actions were not only cynical, but did a terrible disservice to the students, their families and all of the teachers who work hard on a daily basis to build trust and a productive learning environment.”

Leon Jenkins, the president of the LA branch of the NAACP:

“I just can’t fathom what these teachers were thinking of except to make a mockery of African American history.”

Calpernia Adams objects to RuPaul’s inclusion in this troubled threesome and has a great piece on it in Psychology Today which you should all read:

‘LGBT or pre-LGBT kids need role models, people to whom they can look when they need to understand that success and strength can come to even a little boy who feels like “a little black girl in the Brewster Projects”.

Including people like RuPaul and other minority LGBT success stories in celebrations like Black History Month could provide that crucial element. Instead, children in LA are seeing RuPaul’s image tossed into the bin alongside OJ Simpson with great wringing-of-hands by parents and authority figures. What a terrible, insulting shame. So how dare you, LA Unified School District, Mayor Villaraigosa and everyone else who can include RuPaul alongside the other two without even understanding the difference! GLBT community, I hope you speak out about this.

Et tu, New York Times? Indeed!:

The suspended teachers chose O. J. Simpson, the imprisoned former athlete; Dennis Rodman, the retired basketball player and controversy magnet; and the transvestite entertainer RuPaul, district officials said. Many other teachers chose conventional role models like President Obama.

“Transvestite Entertainer” = “Imprisoned Former Athlete” = “Retired Basketball Player and Controversy Magnet.”

But even if that’s not good enough for a school Black History Month celebration (athletes & entertainers are sometimes excluded from these things, if I recall elementary school correctly), that doesn’t explain why 250 newspapers didn’t blink when throwing RuPaul into the Dark Pit of Offensive along with OJ Simpson and Dennis Rodman. [Sidenote: at least Black Gay Gossip honored RuPaul for Black History Month!] What do you think?

HAIRICAINE SHILOH: The stylist quoted in Life & Style‘s cover story was mis-fucking-quoted, and he’s pissed (rightfully so). We pasted some of it in today’s Society & Culture fix, or you can read the whole thing at Jezebel. (@jezebel)

The Lady Gaga Challenge! (@ontd)

On the recent suicide of Marie Osmond’s son, Roseanne has spoken: “Yet the Osmonds still talk lovingly about their church [MORMON], saying nothing about its extremely anti-gay Crusade. Marie also has a gay daughter! Hey, I want her and all the gay kids in the world to know that they are just fine being gay and that they deserve love and respect instead of insults and rebuke! I have gay people in my family and my circle of friends and I am kicking bigot ass and taking names!” (@ontd)

I think Lindsay’s Dad sold some footage of Lindsay’s 16th birthday party to Radar Online or something. Highlights: Lindsay seeming totally disinterested in her date Aaron Carter. Other thoughts: why is Michael Lohan still talking about how sad it is that Lindsay is so fucked up when he is the one who has fucked her up. Also she’s better now right? (@radaronline)

The 35 Best Dance Sequences in Films will keep you busy all night long, promise. Hey speaking of Flashdance did you read Autostraddle’s interview with Jennifer Beals?? (@flavorwire)

Johnny Weir Talks to Movieline:

Regarding Be Good Johnny Weir, you’ve talked about how you want your audience to see how lonely the life of an athlete is. But did making the show — and having cameras around you all day long — make the experience any less lonely?
No, because when you’re in front of a camera, no matter how comfortable you are, you’re always working and you’re always “on.” It’s work. It’s not like I’m relaxing in front of the camera really. The life of an athlete does have to be lonely and you have to be focused on your craft and what you do. Loneliness is just a sacrifice you make as an Olympic-level athlete.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Thoughts on the Oscars’ Gender Gap. (@paste)

Runaways new trailer starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. I am pretty excited that Dirty Dancing was on the list of best dances, but the Hungry Eyes dance is soooo much hotter than the Time of My Life dance.
    And … as much as I love Julia Stiles (and the Save the Last Dance soundtrack!) … really? Really?

  2. I love Roseanne sfm.
    RuPaul is amazing and I think she definitely deserves to be looked up to and honoured. And not just for Black History Month. I think it’s terribly insulting to put her in a line-up with those two. RuPaul has done nothing but good and has increased positive visibility for a group of people that is usually ridiculed. Shit, I honour that fierce, beautiful, amazing person every day.

  3. Everyone here knows how much I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. I think an out, proud, fierce, HUGELY SUCCESSFUL drag queen is a great thing for both the queer community in general, and the black queer community, which has less hugely visible celebrities. Also, Ru uses her fame to benefit AIDS foundations, LGBT causes, and all sorts of things. Why wouldn’t we celebrate that?

  4. People are reinforcing the subconscious notion that there is something wrong with any type of trans, don’t they see that? Better yet, don’t they see that it’s just plain NOT okay? Seriously.

    Fuck yeah, Roseanne.

  5. I wish I was cool enough to do a report on Ru Paul in elementary school. I did one on Regan and I regret it to this day.

  6. What a lack of creativity in that prank. O.J. and Dennis? Really? So dated. How about R Kelly or Michael Vick?

  7. White people are trying to turn the focus off the racially offensive intentions of these white males at this school by placing focus on how they don’t feel it is inappropriate for RuPaul to be one of the people. Cut the crap. Black history month is about learning about popular public figures who helped fight for equality during the 5 century long era of ant-black atrocities from the 1500s through the 1970s. A transvestite RuPaul had nothing to do with that. Stop playing games and acknowledge that these whites were trying to make a mockery out of the black community and need to be penalized severely. I seriously am fed up with white people and their constant racism. Racial abuse and disrespect is a constant issue in this country because whites don’t know how to act when they are in the majority. There’s no such thing as a post-racial era. Just look at the garbage the white community feels up the net with. It’s disgusting. It’s funny how whites always highlight how poverty-stricken Africa is without highlighting how it got that way from Europeans and whites uprooting the country of all of it’s resources and strongest black people; guess what continent has the highest crime rates out of any other continent? Europe but we never here conversation about this in America; just Africa. White Americans come from European descendants so it’s obvious that so many of them would be monsters as well. Coming here to find white folks quibbling and hairsplitting about some RuPaul instead of acknowleding this B.S. as racist

    • I think the post made its opinions on the teachers very clear. I do hope these teachers lose their jobs.

      I agree with a fair amount of what you say but just because RuPaul is not a role model for you it does not mean that’s the case for others.

    • I don’t think anyone here is trying to say that it wasn’t racist, but this is a predominantly queer blog, and we tend to look at issues with a queer sensibility. That being said, I don’t think that the problem people have with the teachers using RuPaul as a questionable figure just because he puts the T in GLBT is any less important than the problem people have with the fact that white teachers chose to “celebrate” black figures who they obviously didn’t think were important to black history. I think RuPaul is definitely important to black history, I don’t consider that hairsplitting or quibbling. Not every member of Autostraddle is white, and you don’t have to be white to be racist . . .

          • thank you jackiethebear! As jackie said, no one is defending the teachers here, they’re still part of the problem, as clearly they, just like the media, felt RuPaul, like OJ Simpson & Dennis Rodman, was a “joke,” and don’t see the distinction between these three figures.

            Honestly tonetare your comment is so rich in incorrect assumptions and unsubstantiated judgments that I wouldn’t even know where to begin! Sheesh!

            I just read this article RuPaul and OJ Simpson have nothing in common at The Root, which argues, Slam Simpson and Dennis Rodman, if you must, but a black man in drag is no disgrace to black history. In response to charges that RuPaul is “one of the worst picks for black personalities,” the author asks:

            Seriously? RuPaul, one of the “worst picks for black personalities”? Someone who is a “smear” on Black History Month? We’re talking about someone who took his hardscrabble beginnings—emotionally abusive mother, high school dropout, tormented as a kid for being gay, homeless—and transcended it, creating a one-drag-queen industry of books (two), hit records, movie roles and a reality TV show where homage is paid to what RuPaul calls the “creative, courageous souls who do drag.”

            The author of The Root article went with RuPaul to a book signing:

            “Folks of all colors—baby drag queens, moms with strollers, church ladies—were lined up outside the block, armed with books, photos and an outsized love. These were folks seeking acceptance, validation and a good laugh. RuPaul served it to them all, encouraging the wannabes (“She’s working lower lashes”) and cooing over babies. One young gay kid told me that, thanks to RuPaul, he no longer was depressed about his sexual orientation. The night was a total love-in, with RuPaul spreading his gospel of self-love and self-acceptance.”

  8. !–just woke up from a glorious dream where celesbian superstar Jill Bennet was my substitute Women’s Studies prof for the day!
    Best. Feminist. Theory. Class. Ever.
    and now I’m gonna get back to that SPRING BREAK ROCKS ALL CAPS.

  9. Pingback: Autostraddle — RuPaul Inappropriate Black History Month Role Model … | Drakz Free Online Service

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