RPDR S11E4: Nina West Shares Her Story Of Growing Up As A Republican While Growing Up As Gay

Nina West shares her experience growing up as a republican and being targeted in college for being gay.Image from @ninawest / Instagram

This week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 was very political, and I love it. The maxi-challenge is a lipsync musical where the queens played as different women in Donald Trump’s life like Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Omorosa, Betsy DeVos, and of course, his arch nemesis, Hillary Clinton.

The challenge is RuPaul’s attempt to bring a hyper-political topic in a very creative and entertaining way. The musical number entitled “Trump: The Rusical” is a social commentary about the women in President Trump’s life and the roles they play in his presidency. It eventually sent a message of women power, where women are said to be the future – encouraging the audience to vote more women politicians to government positions.

Nina West performed as Sarah Sanders in Trump: The Rusical. Photo from @NinaWest / Instagram

The main challenge has brought out different political emotions from the queens – who mostly grew up in a homophobic society – and started conversations about political issues that other queens did not bring up in the past.

The episode has uncovered different political anecdotes from the competing queens that helped educate people about the political climate in the United States.


In a conversation with Ru during the time that she checked out the queens progress in the challenge, Nina revealed that she actually grew up in a very political family, a Republican at that. At the age of 12, she went to the Republican National Convention.

Asked if ‘her party’ win that year, Nina immediately denied her involvement with the Republicans saying that “it is not my political party, but I believe they did win. I believe it was George Bush…The father.”

She also told viewers in her confessionals that she was able to meet Bush’s wife, Barbar and Connie Chung and that she was also the president of the Young Republican Club until she started to realize that she was gay.

She clarified, however, that now she is already super liberal and progressive.


Nina West shares being targeted in college for being gay. Screenshot from VH1

During the time where the queens put their make up on, Nina west opened up being a target in college. She said that during her sophomore year, she ran for student government. Because of the extra attention that her candidacy made her, an underground anti-gay hate group in her college campus took into themselves to harass her, break into her dorm room, and threatened her life.

She revealed that one day, she arrived into her dorm greeted by the word “fag” carved in her dorm room and a distorted voice message threatening to kill her saying “we’re gonna get you.” Later that day, one of her dorm mates told her that someone tried to break into her room. She expressed how scared she was during that time and shared to her fellow queens that the incident forced her to move out of her dorm room and transfer to an all-girls dorm and remained hidden for two weeks until authorities found the perpetrator of the threats.

The incident rang hard on Nina as it happened in the wake of Matthew Sheppard, a college student in Wyoming who was killed by anti-gay “monsters.” Sheppard went to a local bar, and a group of men picked him up and beat him to death, eventually hanging him in a fence.

Nina said that the Matthew Sheppard incident and her experience in her sophomore year made her the gender rights activist that she is now.

“The Matthew Sheppard murder changed my life…This is why I’m involved in gay rights issues; because I don’t want anyone to feel that way that I felt – that I was suicidal, that I was not good enough, or that I didn’t belong. That’s why I do what I do; so they will never feel that way,” Nina said on the show.

“It is awful, you don’t want to feel like you don’t matter,” she added.

Nina urged people not to let anyone tell them that their voice doesn’t matter in this time where the environment is very divisive.

The revelations of Nina West have moved her fellow competing queens, and they started to hug her and gave her message of support. Fans in Twitter have also expressed how proud they are of Nina and have called upon more queens to tell their stories and fight just like what Nina did. /apr

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