by Staff writer
World-famous drag queen and host of VH1′s critically acclaimed “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise, RuPaul, is facing backlash for comments he made last week about allowing openly transgender people to compete on his hit reality program.
The initial comments appeared in a profile of RuPaul in The Guardian.
“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,” RuPaul said in the interview.
“So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.”
|RuPaul as a drag queen.
The interviewer then asked RuPaul about Season 9 contestant Peppermint, the first openly transgender woman to compete on “Drag Race.”
“Mmmm. It’s an interesting area,” RuPaul responded.
“Peppermint didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned.”
The interviewer then followed up by asking Ru if he would accept a contestant who had “really transitioned” onto the show.
The “Drag Race” host responded by saying, “Probably not. You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body.
“It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing. We’ve had some girls who’ve had some injections in the face and maybe a little bit in the butt here and there, but they haven’t transitioned.”
|Former “Drag Race” contestant, Peppermint.
Over the weekend, Ru began facing backlash for these initial comments.
“You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics,” RuPaul tweeted.
RuPaul almost immediately faced more backlash from fans and former “Drag Race” contestants alike.
“Many queens who have been on your show have struggled with gender identity and many are trans. How disgusting to compare performance enhancing drugs to hormone replacements or other aspects of transitioning. This is incredibly disrespectful,” someone wrote.
“You have zero right to gate-keep drag. Drag is an art form, it can be interpreted and executed in many different ways. Drag was always about freedom, liberty and self confidence, disallowing particular people that luxury in your eyes is limiting and wrong, but go ahead and block me,” said another.
“I am heartbroken that a community begging for inclusivity and acceptance would be so hypocritical as to profit from the trans-community while simultaneously acting as oppressor,” said drag queen Vicky Vox.
Gia Gunn, who competed on Season 6 of “Drag Race” before coming out as transgender in 2017, also spoke out.
“Although I do feel the separation from being a drag queen and now a trans-woman, there should not be any reason to be “not accepted” when it comes to the art of drag. If you are a fierce artist, you’re a fierce artist and should be judged based on your art. NOT your gender identity!” Gia Gunn wrote.
Monica Beverly Hillz, another former contestant who came out as trans during the fifth season of “Drag Race,” told Into:
Finally succumbing to the heat, RuPaul addressed the controversy on Twitter on Monday evening, saying he regretted “the hurt he’d caused.”
“The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers,” he said.
On “Drag Race,” he noted, “the only thing we’ve ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent.”
“And that will never change,” he concluded.
The “Drag Race” show has faced criticism in the past for using the phrase “she-mail,” which many viewers perceived as transphobic.
The show’s producers stopped using the controversial phrase in 2014.