RuPaul’s Drag Race may be a fun competition where drag queens walk the runway, wear sparkling gowns and show fierce personality, but the show has also become a place where the contestants open up about horrible experiences growing up as gay and transgendered.
Nina West, who was born Andrew, opens up about an emotional time during tonight’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
You can see the clip below for tonight’s episode.
Nina West explains that she was in her sophomore year and she was openly gay at the time. West explains that she ran for student government and that she noticed that there was an underground hate group at the very conservative college she was attending.
This group targeted her, bullied her, and even broke into her dorm room. Nina even reveals that they threatened to kill her.
In a confessional interview, West explains that the F-word was carved into the door and they had left a message behind, saying they were going to come and kill her.
At that time, someone was trying to break into the building and a voice on the phone told her they were coming into the building.
Nina West reflects on the experience, revealing that she thought she was going to die that day. She also explains that she was forced to move into an all-girls dorm to stay safe. To make matters worse, this was around the time of the Matthew Shepard murder.
Shepard was a young gay man who went out to a bar during his college days in Wyoming. He met Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney at the bar, who ended up torturing him, killing him, and strapping him to a fence in a field in Wyoming, where he would later be found.
The BBC reports he had been tied to the fence for 18 hours in the cold.
Nina West explains that Matthew’s murder changed everything for her, especially since she went through what she did during college. West breaks down crying, telling her fellow competitors that Matthew’s murder and her own experiences are why she’s so involved in gay issues.
Nina has her own foundation, The Nina West Foundation, where she works to create and support LGBTQ platforms and organizations.
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs tonight at 9/8c on VH1.