Beyoncé, Eurovision and Drag Race: Move over Charles, it’s time for the real queens

Just as King Charles understands the symbolism and significance of putting on a good show, so too do the queens, writes Jackson King.

After the pomp, ceremony and humourlessness of the coronation I’m relieved that the gays and the gworls are correcting the balance: the Renaissance World Tour has kicked off, Eurovision is in full swing and Drag Race All Stars season 8 begins in the UK today

It’s as if the holy trinity of hashtag gay excellence has appeared to give us strength after a particularly trying time. Washing away the residue of a royal event at best defined by cringey TV moments, and at worst, authoritarian suppression of the right to protest

You can sense Pride Month is near with these heavy hitters of gay entertainment bringing us a much needed injection of colour, creativity and campness – especially against an increasingly anti-LGBTQ+ political backdrop. Us queens deserve a little fun, as a treat!

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour is here. (Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images)

There’s a lot to feel ‘down’ about… In the last week and a half we’ve seen another slew of depressing yet unsurprising headlines. Rainbow Europe released an index showing that the UK’s ranking on LGBTQ+ human rights has fallen from 1st place in 2014 to 17th place in 2023. The Guardian reported on a new study suggesting that the UK is a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ journalists. And last week, Just Like Us published independent research showing a mental health crisis among LGBTQ+ adults aged 18 to 25.  

It’s hard not to feel the life slowly sucked out of you as the UK continues to roll back the clock on hard won LGBTQ+ freedoms and safety. But if history teaches us anything, it’s that as a community, we are resilient even in the most dire of circumstances.

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Earlier this year when Paul O’Grady died, social media lit up with anecdotes – the most popular being his acerbic quip during a 1987 police raid on the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. As the homophobic and serophobic rubber-gloved bobbies descended upon the gay bar, he hit back with a lethally funny riposte: “Well, well, looks like we have help with the washing up.”

Just as the King understands the symbolism and significance of putting on a good show, so too do us queens. Perhaps even more so, given that King Charles and Queen Camilla’s coronation outfits would have benefited from a little, shall we say werkroom guidance from RuPaul. I’m anti-monarchy, but if I had golden vestments and an Imperial Mantle in my wardrobe, I’d like to think I’d at least turn a look. 

King Charles coronation
King Charles III. (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Simply put, no one does pageantry like the girls, theys and gays. God save Beyoncé, flamboyant europop and the 12 disciples of drag about to grace our TV screens (especially Kandy Muse and LaLa Ri, amen). 

Whether we’re the queens putting on the show, or the queens in the audience – entertained by a Finnish rap-twunk clad in lime-green and mesmerised by Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen – as a community we have always found strength in art, pageantry, and humour. In queer aesthetics that are too much, that do the most, and take up space – even as we’re told to shrink ourselves. 

So my loves, let’s lean in. Lock down that Renaissance live stream so you can vision-board your disco cowgirl look for the UK leg of the tour. Tune in to All Stars for a serotonin boost powered by the fluorescent pink of the werkroom and shady soundbites from Jimbo. Pull up to the Eurovision viewing party and embark on a sonic and psychedelic journey across the continent with your nearest and dearest. Let’s take strength from the knowledge that we are not just here, we are everywhere. And to quote Nicki Minaj, “you can’t get rid of me b***h!”