Name: BenDeLaCreme, 36
Who He is: Drag performer
Why He Matters: Ben has landed multiple spots on Drag Race, first on Season 6, and later, on All Stars Season 3. He’s pulled off some impressive feats under Ru’s watchful eye, including winning five challenges in one season, and taking home the noted “Snatch Game” contest more than once.
Why We’re Proud: Let’s be clear, Ben is a great guy and a great drag queen. He had already won our hearts from his candid discussion of growing up fat, gay and depressed in his native Connecticut. Drag helped him cope with his ongoing depression, as he crafted his drag persona to embody the most cheerful and admirable qualities of himself. Besides keeping us entertained on All-Stars this year, Ben also snatched up (pardon the pun) some attention for an epic Facebook post criticizing Drag Race fans for callous attacks on the show’s contestants.
After leaving the show voluntarily, Ben kept off social media for a time. When he returned, he condemned the kind of tribalistic attacks that sometimes go along with internet fandom, delivering a fierce repudiation:
I left the competition because, in a situation where I had felt trapped choosing between “success” and what felt right, I had an epiphany. I saw an opportunity to make a statement to the producers, and in turn to you, the viewer. And also to myself. Stop accepting what “authority figures” have told you [about what] you have to do. You do not have to consent to compromising your values or personal boundaries, whatever they may be. You do not have to push people down to lift yourself up. This society has indoctrinated us with certain beliefs at a great cost to our own humanity. Some of you are angry I questioned those beliefs. If those beliefs can’t withstand questioning, then they are not structurally sound.
Ben went on to congratulate and praise his fellow contestants, and to push that the essence of drag is love and acceptance, not vitriolic competition.
He also has a point. In an era of constant ranting by any fandom–be it Star Wars, Drag Race or politics–civility and real conversation often get lost. When it comes to something like Drag Race, everyone should remember the show is there to entertain, not to divide.
We couldn’t agree more.