How Orlando Changed Pride For The Queens Of ‘RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race’

The largest Pride parade in history took place Sunday in New York City. With an estimated 32,000 marchers, it was not only historic, it was gorgeous. Participants in the festivities had Orlando on their minds and in their hearts as they paraded down Fifth Avenue, each paying tribute in their own way. The shooting in Orlando definitely changed Pride for the queens of RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race as they reflected on what it meant for the gay community and themselves personally.

Among the many in attendance at the 46th annual parade were Hillary Clinton, Mayor de Blasio, and some of the queens from the upcoming second season of the show. Vulture’s E. Alex Jung was onboard the Pride float designated for RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race and gives a detailed account of the unforgettable experience, beginning by highlighting the importance of this particular event in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. He writes: “If last year’s pride parade was marked by a raucous celebration of the legalization of gay marriage, then this year’s was tinged with tragedy.”

The first float in the parade carried the owner of Pulse nightclub, Barbara Poma, and Neema Bahrami, a manager at the club where the worst mass shooting in American history took place, targeting queer Latinos. Just behind the float for RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race was another reminder of the tragedy — marchers dressed in all white, with veils over their faces and the photos and names of the victims draped around their necks.

Detox, one of the All Stars Drag Race contestants on the float, told Jung about Orlando: “If anything it should make us all stronger and be even more gay.”

Detox was accompanied by fellow queens Roxxxy Andrews, Tatianna, and Coco Montrese, all of whom will be competing for the crown on season 2 of All Stars. Andrews, being a Florida native, had a very personal connection with Pulse, telling Jung:

“I worked at Pulse for ten years… It was like a home. We really made a family. I lost five really good friends. The rest were people you see every night — they tip us, they take pictures with us, and you remember those memories. It’s hard, but we’ve got to live on and dance for them. That’s what they were doing, dancing.”

Coco Montrese, born in Miami, also had a personal account of the safe-home that was Pulse, saying:

“I’m a former Miss Gay Orlando. When I went to compete at Miss Gay America, Pulse was the club that actually did a benefit show for me to go.”

The entire Pride celebration allowed the LGBTQ community and its allies to come together after a devastating tragedy, supporting one another and showing the nation they won’t be brought down by hate. The drag queens from the hit show highlighted the connection many people had to Pulse and how strong the gay community really is.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars premieres August 25, so go on and set your DVR.