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The queens of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ talk politics

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 15:55 EDT
Chad Michaels, Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara (Photograph by Megan Carpentier)

Though this season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was the first to feature a political competition — “Frock The Vote” — and RuPaul himself even journeyed to New Hampshire during primary season to declare himself a “one-issue candidate,” the show, like many of its reality competitors, shied away from most political proselytizing over the course of the season.

The two notable exceptions, however, were the producers’ willingness to air footage over several episodes in which the competitors discussed being bullied as kids and the occasional mention of marriage equality. Even competitor Latrice Royale, whose campaign during “Frock The Vote” was supposed to focus on AIDS policy, didn’t end up with much opportunity to expand on her platform.

That ended last night, as I sat down with Sharon Needles, Chad Michaels, Phi Phi O’Hara, Willam Belli, Latrice Royale and Madame LaQueer to talk about some of their pet issues, from marriage equality to prison reform to immigration. (The Princess also spoke to me about the importance of marriage equality and her disbelief that politicians are fighting against birth control and reproductive rights, but the footage didn’t come out.)

Watch the video below:

UPDATE: NewNowNext.com has video from the students at a NYC LGBT Youth Center talking about what seeing the finalists perform meant to them.

[Photograph by Megan Carpentier]

Where were the nerds (or the tough questions) at the White House Correspondents Dinner?

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, April 30, 2012 14:19 EDT

Reading all of the self-congratulation and humble-bragging ironic-self-deprecation from the D.C. press hordes and hangers-on as they fêted the President and themselves on Saturday evening at the so-called “Nerd Prom,” a friend said to me, “Hey, people know that #nerdprom is actually San Diego Comic Con, right?” The fact of the matter is that D.C.’s political class all but thrives on the idea that they were put-upon “nerds” in high school, because they excelled at…


How many more U.S. employee-sex worker scandals will pop up?

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, April 27, 2012 17:09 EDT

Between the Secret Service agents giving “advance work” a new name in Cartegena, the accusations that other agents were up to the same tricks in El Salvador and the legal suit by a “sex professional and dancer” in Brazil against the U.S. Marines and an embassy official, being an “ugly…


Today in “Duh”: Republicans didn’t just want to beat Obama, they wanted to stonewall him

By Megan Carpentier
Thursday, April 26, 2012 17:04 EDT

For those people who somehow believed that the lack of progress on almost anything in Washington had something to do with legitimate policy disagreements on which there is legitimately no common ground, journalist Robert Draper has some surprising news: stonewalling President Obama was the GOP’s plan from the get-go. For…


‘Don’t Double My Rate’ doesn’t get us anywhere on student loan debt

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 15:16 EDT

In a rare point of commonality, likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama now agree that interest rates on federal student loans should remain at 3.4 percent rather than going up to 6.7 percent on July 1 as scheduled. Yesterday, Obama got an entire room of students…


On a lighter note: That South Park song about viral videos and public masturbation

After publishing my piece (and video) about having a transvaginal ultrasound, a friend send me the below South Park song (based on KONY 2012 filmmaker Jason Russell’s public meltdown) as a warning about the potential consequences. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. ButterballsGet More:…


Obama’s position on same sex marriage ‘evolving’ — but may not change — in 2012

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 15:34 EDT

To hear many of his supporters tell it in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama’s opposition to marriage equality and the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was simply a matter of political expediency rather than personal or political preference. After the machinations in 2004 that put same-sex marriage…


Unsolicited advice to young writers: The internet remembers

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, April 23, 2012 14:49 EDT

It’s hard not to read a story about a young, aspiring journalist like Elizabeth Flock and not feel at least a little sorry for her. Flock, who resigned from the Washington Post last week after receiving two strong editor’s notes for first getting a story wrong and then reusing another…


Politicians who won’t even talk about legalizing marijuana are enormous hypocrites

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, April 20, 2012 12:07 EDT

The last three presidents admit they smoked it. Presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gringrich (R-GA) called using it, “a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era.” Former VP nominee and governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) says she did her share of it. There’s undoubtedly more…


Did the Mormon Church approve Mitt Romney’s flip-flops on abortion?

By Megan Carpentier
Thursday, April 19, 2012 13:13 EDT

That’s the claim made by Judith Dushku, a political science professor, feminist and church-going Mormon (and, interestingly, mother to former Buffy cast member Eliza Dushku), who is the subject of a profile by Salon’s Irin Carmon. Dushku, who used to belong to Romney’s church and co-founded the Mormon feminist journal…