RuPaul has been on the front lines of marriage equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout his career. The famous drag queen uses his platform to push forward the civil rights for those who identify as LGBTQ+ and beyond. As it turns out, his work in social justice is inherited.
During an appearance this week on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. to learn about his genealogy, RuPaul learned that his own ancestors were also in the fight for equality, particularly in marriage.
According to host Henry Louis Gates Jr., RuPaul’s great-great-grandparents Isaac and Annie were marriage pioneers. Per archived documentation, the couple wed in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War. The end of the war marked the end of slavery and the start of the legalization of marriages for African-Americans.
“If you were a slave, legal marriage did not exist because you were property,” Gates told RuPaul. “So after the Civil War, lots of Black people who had been in loving relationships got married as soon as they could. And there’s the marriage record. What do you think it meant to your ancestors finally to have the right to marry?”
RuPaul wed his longtime partner Georges LeBar in 2017, just two years after same-sex marriage became legalized all throughout the U.S.
“The obvious thing for me is, you know, I’m married, and it’s an interesting thing,” RuPaul replied. “Two men have just now recently been given the right to marry, and this … mirrors what was happening then, and how people, humans on this planet can keep people who love each other apart. So that parallel is pretty interesting.”
Watch the emotional clip below: