TSA Wigs Out on Bob the Drag Queen's Hair Pieces

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday July 23, 2021

"RuPaul's Drag Race" star (and Season 8 winner) Bob the Drag Queen got into a hairy situation when, before boarding a flight on July 20, her wigs became the subject of TSA scrutiny.

The drag artist took to social media, keeping fans amused and apprised as events progressed.

The initial tweet was quickly followed by one in which Bob the Drag Queen described how the TSA was putting the suspect through a perp walk:

But that's not all. Before long, the officer — in over his head, perhaps — called for backup.

The snag got teased out in short order.

The happy resolution meant that Bob the Drag Queen was soon reunited with her wig.

The jaunty Twitter epic opened the door for the TSA to respond on Instagram and turn the inspection into a teachable moment.

"We heard you walked purse first through one of our security checkpoints," the TSA wrote on Instagram. "No tea, no shade, and we sure hope you had a pleasant experience, but when it comes to security we do what needs to be done to keep you safe."

On a more serious note, the post added: "At times our officers may ask passengers to undergo additional screening, such as letting a wig out the bag to be run separately. This could be to resolve an alarm or as part of other security measures."

Riffing on a "RuPaul's Drag Race" catchphrase, the post concluded: "Now, Shante, you can stay. Thanks for your patience, hilarity, talent, and humility. Keep racking up them frequent flyer miles."

The impromptu exchange was hardly the first time drag performers have gotten up to some high-flying fun. Pride Month in 2019 saw Bob the Drag Queen and Trixie Mattel team up to bring a rainbow to the skies on JetBlue's Pride flight. To passengers' delight, the duo performed their own special version of a flight safety announcement, Travel and Leisure reported at the time. The one-of-a-kind inflight entertainment took place aboard a JetBlue Airbus A320, aptly named Shantay Blue Stay.

A more earthbound, but no less glamorous, drag revue turned a gate at Newark Liberty International Airport into a dragtastic fashion show that same June, as several drag artists took to a runway of a different sort. As NJ.com reported at the time, the special event was headlined by none other than "Drag Race" royalty Kennedy Davenport.

And in a stratospheric event that welcomed passengers of every sort, Virgin Atlantic's inaugural Pride Flight — launched in 2019 — made allies of a British family that had no idea they had bought tickets on the most fun flight in the skies. Business Insider reported on how Kelly and Sean Powell, together with their two sons, were readily welcomed into the frivolities of a flight that had been planned as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

But it wasn't Virgin Atlantic's last Pride Flight. Earlier this year, the airline hosted the first such flight between Australian destinations Brisbane and Sydney. "We Are Family" never meant more than the moment when frequent flyer Chris Lai was allowed to make an inflight announcement that took his partner, Cedric Thiery, by surprise because it included a marriage proposal.

Wonder if their wedding celebration included a rendition of "Blue Skies?"

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.