RuPaul disappointed many Drag Race fans last year after making controversial comments surrounding transgender women competing on the show during an interview with The Guardian. He said that he would “probably not” allow a post-transition woman on to compete on the show and claimed in a hypocritical statement that: “Drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it, because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.”
In the same interview Rupaul spoke about Peppermint, a former competitor from season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race, stating that she was allowed to compete on the show as she “didn’t get breast implants” and therefore in his eyes, she hadn’t “really transitioned”. He then went on to liken drag performers who are transitioning to athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs.
These comments, in particular, caused many fans and fellow former competitors to come out and condemn Ru’s remarks in support of Peppermint and other trans women alike.
Trans women were the first entertainers I ever saw in drag & have always been a big part of the industry. To now hear such words of segregation from an icon who has created a world wide community of unity, makes me sad. Is never been LGB so let’s not forget about the T!
— Gia Gunn (@GiaGunn) March 5, 2018
My drag was born in a community full of trans women, trans men, and gender non-conforming folks doing drag. That’s the real world of drag, like it or not. I thinks it’s fabulous and I will fight my entire life to protect and uplift it.
— Sasha Velour (@sasha_velour) March 5, 2018
The backlash from this interview as well as other controversial statements RuPaul posted on his Twitter around the same time last year led to the drag sensation issuing a public apology expressing his regret over any hurt caused to the community. However, this “apology” was not very well received as Ru mistakenly used an image of a “train landscape painting” rather than a trans flag. Many found this mistake hilarious on Twitter, while others used it as further evidence of the stars ignorance.
In the 10 years we’ve been casting Drag Race, the only thing we've ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change. pic.twitter.com/0jsyt6MRvO
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018
In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, RuPaul further attempted to distance himself from his past statements claiming that there is “an obsession with trying to create this ‘us against them’ storyline,” saying “we share a history” and that “the two worlds intersect but maintain their unique qualities”.
RuPaul was then pressed on the topic of women in drag again and responded by saying; “Women are in drag,” promptly followed by one of his many sayings; “[we’re] born naked and the rest is drag.” The interviewer further pushed Ru for comments on the potential of women being allowed to compete on Drag Race which left him at a loss for words before a producer stepped in to help. RuPaul later addressed the topic again in an email to The Sunday Times stating: “I’ve learnt to never say never.”
It must be noted that women have competed on the show in the past. However, all these women have been trans women and Ru’s loss for words when questioned on whether or not women could compete in the future speaks greatly on his views of the transgender community.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.