Queer folks are not only iconic in entertainment and fashion (and everything else in the world), they are now also iconic in the animal kingdom, too. Bryan Lessard, a gay scientist, announced on Tuesday that he's naming a soldier fly after Hollywood Walk Of Fame legend RuPaul.
Category is: new species extravaganza! Introducing the @RuPaul soldier fly, serving charisma and uniqueness, one of 150 new species named by @CSIRO in the last year! #csirocollections
— Dr Bryan Lessard (@BrytheFlyGuy) September 14, 2021
"Category is: new species extravaganza! Introducing the @RuPaul soldier fly, serving charisma and uniqueness, one of 150 new species named by @CSIRO in the last year!" wrote Lessard of one of the species newly discovered by CSIRO.
CSIRO is an Australian agency whose mission is "improving the lives of people everywhere with our science."
Lessard spoke to CNN about why he decided to name the insect after the Drag Race host.
"I'd been watching a lot of RuPaul's Drag Race when I was examining the specimen under the microscope, so it was on my mind!" Lessard tells the outlet. "And I really wanted to give this group of flies a memorable name because it needs the attention — the first specimen of this RuPaul fly was collected over a hundred years ago and sat neglected in a museum collection until someone with the knowledge of that group came along to name and document them."
The 13 new soldier flies named by Lessard originate from affected areas in Australia, and he wanted to give at least one fly a name the world could never forget.
“It has a costume of shiny metallic rainbow colours, and it has legs for days. I think once [RuPaul] sees the fly she’ll realize it’s quite fierce and hopefully appreciate the name," Lessard added.
Lessard once also named a fly after another pop icon. In 2011, Lessard named a horse fly after Beyoncé, naming it Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae according to NBC News. Researchers said the horse fly was the"all-time diva of flies."
The entomologist hopes naming the soldier fly after two-time Billboard Award recipient RuPaul will remind other LGBTQ+ identifying youth that there's a place at the scientists' table, too.
"As a gay scientist, it took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin in a very traditional field of science — in entomology," Lessard reflected. "I think it's really important for the next generation of LGBTQ+ scientists to know that they're being represented in the workplace, as we give the names of legends in the community to memorable species."
While RuPaul is claiming his throne as the head fly in charge, the 10-time Emmy award recipient is nominated for his fourth consecutive Outstanding Competition Program trophy as an executive producer of RuPaul's Drag Race at this year's Primetime Emmy ceremony. A win for the 60-year-old television host will set a new record, making him the Black artist with the most Emmy wins.