Bob the Drag Queen, winner of RuPaul's Drag Race's eighth season, is preaching a message of hope in the wake of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, an attack widely seen as an attack on the LGBTQ community. On the YouTube channel for Logo, the network that airs "Drag Race," Bob delivered a somber message about the importance of living without fear — even in the face of terror.
"Queer clubs are safe spaces because no one's judging you for what the rest of the world is judging you for there," Bob, whose real name is Christopher Caldwell, said. He added the clubs represent the only havens where some people can feel comfortable being themselves unapologetically.
"Queer clubs are safe spaces because no one's judging you for what the rest of the world is judging you for there."
"Not living in fear is a form of activism," he continued. "Activism doesn't always mean laying in the streets and getting arrested and shouting 'Hell no, we won't go,' at the top of your lungs. Sometimes it can be as much as just going to meet your friends and singing a night of karaoke..."
Bob's advice comes at a time when fear is as pertinent an issue in the gay community as ever: According to a poll commissioned by Pride in London, 74% of respondents claimed that they still feel the need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Orlando wasn't the only recent incident of an LGBTQ community being targeted. In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre, law enforcement arrested a man who was en route to the Los Angeles Pride parade with guns, ammunition and possible explosives in his car. According to Bob, just showing up to Pride in the face of such a threat represents a victory for the LGBTQ community.
"I know it sounds so simple, but just going out and having fun is a big deal," he said. "It is huge. Going to the parade and having fun is a very big deal. The point of pride is to go out and celebrate life, including the lives of those who fought for us to get where we are.
"If queer people are nothing, we are strong. And we will persevere through it all," Bob said.