“Tap That App,” the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, saw the Season 10 queens breathing campy new life into something that’s pretty old hat to us by now: Dating apps. Separated into three teams, the girls were challenged to develop and act in a commercial for a new dating app — “Fibstr,” the app for pathological liars looking for love, “MadamButtrface,” an app for finding, well, butterfaces, or “ENDofDAYS,” an app for religious lovelorn folks who think The Rapture is nigh. Later in the episode, the queens sashayed down the runway in front of guest judges, Nico Tortorella of Younger and Courtney Love of grunge music royalty, in the ~bird-fashion~ category… Feathers. As gorgeous as this flock of queens looked on the runway, a werk room conversation that happened beforehand was easily the most striking, moving, and important moment from the entire episode.
Dusty Ray Bottoms opened up about the terrifying homophobia he experienced after coming out to his conservative religious parents as a kid.
When Blair St. Clair discusses the religious overtones in her team’s commercial for ENDofDAYS, she and Dusty begin talking about their own religious upbringings. When Dusty learns that Blair’s religious family is full of devoted fans of her drag career, Dusty explains that his family has never and will never see him perform in drag, that he doesn’t communicate with them, and that they don’t even know he is on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then, through tears, he shares disturbing details from his own childhood, relaying the horrors of conversion therapy and proving how dire it is for communities to ban this abusive and hateful practice.
Dusty says, “When I came out to my family, the night before it happened, I literally was at my breaking point…my lowest low… I cried out to God and was like, I need a change in my life. I need something to happen and be different for me. And then literally, the next morning, my mom was like, ‘Come downstairs, we need to talk about this.’ And the whole me-coming-out happened,” after his parents said they found “something” on his computer.
Thankfully, Dusty’s story ends happily because he found the courage and strength to leave his traumatic, toxic family environment and live his truth, boldly, without compromise, and without shame.
As Drag Race fans pointed out on Twitter, these televised conversations make the series revolutionary and so important to queer youth.
We love Drag Race for its ability to give voice to pressing social issues while still being a hilarious, entertaining, meme-generating reality show. And since this is a reality competition, someone ultimately had to go home at the end of the episode. Asia O’Hara won the maxi challenge, but Yuhua Hamasaki and Mayhem Miller ended up in the Bottom Two. Mayhem’s victorious lip sync secured her chance to become America’s Next Drag Superstar, sending Yuhua home.
What will happen next week? Will the ghost of Miss Vanjie continue to haunt the werk room? Watch next Thursday at 8 p.m. on VH1 to find out.