Not Heidis Queen #QueenOfDrag #Dragrace
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On June 26th, 2019 German television network ProSieben announced that Heidi Klum will be heading the jury in a German version of RuPaul's Drag Race, basically acting as the German RuPaul of the show.
We expressly welcome the decision that this concept is coming to Germany and would like to see it produced adequately, considering this is the first time drag would be presented on this large a scale on German television. This is a huge responsibility.
We feel that choosing a straight cis-gender woman as the face of this production is problematic. Finally a queer show is being produced for German television, but the front figure is anything but queer basically handing the cake to the straight white woman while we are, once again, left with the crumbs. It's like being the supporting character in our own storyline. We have been fighting for queer visibility for a long time and we have fought for the right for a QUEER person to represent us in a queer-centric show. This goes beyond cultural appropriation, this is cultural abuse.
Furthermore, Drag Race (or this similar concept called "Queen of Drags" since actual rights to the franchise have not been purchased) is a show packed with queer references and jargon. Heidi may be supportive of the LGBTIQ community and may be a friend and fan of drag but essentially she neither possess the competence, nor the necessary knowledge of queer history and culture, and lacks the personal experience of being oppressed and discriminated against based on gender identity or sexuality. As a good ally she should recognize when it's time to step back to allow a queer person to take her place and give them a voice.
We interpret booking Heidi Klum as front figure and marketing face of this show as selling out the drag community with a concept that is primarily aimed at the amusement of a heteronormative audience, at the expense of the participants and the entire drag community. It won't be about educating the public about the beauty and art of drag, it will be about parading the participants like a bunch of circus freaks. The participants are only means to an end. Quality is sacrificed to save the ratings through social voyeurism.
It saddens us to see that ProSieben is missing the chance to uplift any single one of the extensive pool of talented queer and queeradjacent performers in Germany. There is no shortage of potential, competent, queer personalities in our country.
We urge ProSieben to reconsider Heidi Klum and to replace her with somebody queer.
We, Ryan Stecken and Margot Schlönzke (local drag performers), have been artistically and politically active in the local community for many years and have been genuinely looking forward to see drag on German television. We were hoping for a queer format with queer protagonists in front of a queer-competent jury. ProSieben had the chance to take the thoroughly queer original concept and ride it to success with a queer person at the helm. The decision to place Heidi Klum in this position instead is a slap in the face of all who have marched for the past 50 years for our right to be taken seriously as a main character and not just an accessory to serve for other people's amusement. 50 years after stonewall we shouldn't have to beg to be our own representation anymore.
For all these reasons, we decided to start this petition.
Ryan Stecken & Margot Schlönzke
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