Jeff Goldblum Questions Muslim Treatment of LGBTQ Folks on RuPaul's Drag Race
Jeff Goldblum Questions Muslim Treatment of LGBTQ Folks on 'Drag Race'
The actor had a question for Jackie Cox during the "Stars & Stripes" runway, and it resulted in one of the most heartfelt, authentic moments of the entire season.
Season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race is in the home stretch with just seven queens left, and on tonight's runway, Jackie Cox brought some Middle Eastern representation to this week's "Stars & Stripes" theme.
The New York-based queen wore a stunning red-striped caftan with a midnight blue hijab lined with 50 silver stars, a statement piece among the dazzling America-themed outfits.
"Cmon hijab!" RuPaul cheered from the judges' panel as Cox turned the corner.
\u201cCategory is: Stars and Stripes Forever \u2b50\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\n\nWhose patriotic lewk was your favorite? #DragRace\u201d— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaul's Drag Race) 1587776443
"You can be Middle Eastern, you can be Muslim, and you can still be American," she quips in the voiceover.
And while the queens stood statuesquely on the runway waiting to be judged, actor and this week's special guest judge Jeff Goldblum had a potentially controversial question for Cox.
"Are you religious, may I ask?"
'I'm not," Cox replies. "To be honest, this outfit really represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country."
Goldblum inquires deeper about the Islamic faith and how the religion treats LGBTQ+ people. "Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality? And anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I'm just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid."
Goldblum's question is certainly raw, but reflects thoughts many uninformed Americans might have. As The Advocate reports, activists say this kind of rhetoric is used to portray Muslim women and LGBTQ+ Muslims as "victims of our own communities" in an attempt to "really pit communities against each other." This is a difficult field for Muslims to navigate.
Sensing a touchy subject, RuPaul jumped in with a comment on how drag pushes boundaries. "Drag has always shaken the tree, so to speak. There are so many different layers to this presentation. If it was ever going to be done, this is the stage to do it."
Cox teared up on the runway as she spoke about her beliefs.
"It's a complex issue. I have my own misgivings about the way LGBT people are treated in the Middle East. And at the same time, I am one. What is so important to me that if you just happen to be different, then live that truth."
\u201c\u201cI\u2019m here, and I deserve to be in America just as much as anyone else.\u201d \n\nThank you for your bravery, @JackieCoxNYC \u2013 we\u2019re so happy you\u2019re here. \u2764\ufe0f#DragRace\u201d— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaul's Drag Race) 1587777097
A travel ban prohibiting entry into the U.S. from all Muslim-majority countries was one of several controversial issues the Trump Administration ran on in 2016. When it passed in 2018, immigrants from Libya, Somalia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Cox's home country of Iran were barred from entering the country.
For Cox, it stopped his Aunt from coming to the U.S. to help take care of her sister, Cox's mother. Muslims across the country are feeling more nervous than ever and the restrictions have reignited fear in U.S. Muslim communities, and for good reason. Experts say hate crimes against Muslims have risen since Trump took office.
"When the Muslim ban happened, it really destroyed a lot of my faith in this country. And really hurt my family. And that's so wrong to me," Cox said. "I had to show America that you can be LGBT and from the Middle East and there's going to be complicated shit around that and that's okay. But I'm here and I deserve to be in America as much as anyone else."
While uncomfortable at times, the poignant conversation is a truly authentic moment on the reality series. By asking the awkward question, not only did Goldblum learn more about Jackie Cox and the Muslim faith, but Drag Race viewers across the world also had the opportunity to educate themselves.