RuPaul’s Drag Race host RuPaul Charles continues to cop backlash to a feature article published over the weekend, in which he admits he “probably” wouldn’t allow transgender drag queens who have had any kind of gender affirming surgery to participate in his hit reality TV show.
“You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body,” RuPaul told the Guardian. “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.”
The broader queer community has responded with outrage and disappointment to the comments, including one implying that season 9 contestant Peppermint (who identifies as a transgender woman) was fine to be on the show as she “didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned“.
RuPaul, who has hosted the iconic Drag show for a decade, has previously come under fire for defending his use of the slur “tr*nny” and his constant refusal to listen to actual trans voices and evolve his outdated stance on trans issues continues to draw the ire of erstwhile fans and previous contestants alike.
One such former Drag Race Queen, season five’s Monica Beverly Hillz, has today accused RuPaul of equating transgender people’s bodies with their identities, a damaging idea which implies trans women who have not undergone any surgery, are not really woman:
“I’ve always been a woman, so what I’ve done to my body or that I hadn’t started hormones while on the show doesn’t take away my identity,” she said in a statement to INTO. “The more ‘real’ our bodies look and appear to be women, the more money we’ll often make in the nightlife and drag worlds. And for many of us as trans women, we do drag as a form of survival to support our very ability to start medical transition.”
Other queens have voiced their opinions on RuPaul’s transphobic comments on social media, including last year’s winner Sasha Velour and All Stars 3 contestant Bendelacreme:
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
My partner of almost three years is trans, and #bendelachrist help anyone who tries to tell him what he can and can’t do. Just sayin’.
— BenDeLaCreme (@bendelacreme) March 5, 2018
Despite earlier today seeming to double down on his “trans ban” by posting an incredibly problematic tweet comparing transitioning drag queens to athletes who dope, RuPaul has just now posted a semi-apology, promising to listen and learn:
Whilst 57-year-old RuPaul has done wonders for the queer community (of which this writer is a cisgendered member), his inability to evolve with the times and properly respect the community that birthed his very career is inexcusable.
Hopefully he can finally commit to dropping his transphobic attitudes that are rooted in the past and by listening and engaging with trans queens, bio queens and the full spectrum of genders and identities to whom drag is meaningful and powerful, stop this reductivist and solipsistic commentary.