I am a firm believer that season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race remains their best yet (outside of All Stars). Chicago’s very own Gia Gunn was a big part in making her season so much fun to watch, even though she didn’t make it too far as the season went on.
Regardless, she became one of the most talked about queens that year due to her catchphrases like “ABSOLUTELYYYYYY” and “let me feel my oats,” not to mention her bold and brash personality that was seen during the episodes and on Untucked.
Gia became known for so much more after season 6 was over with, as she proved to be more than just a GIF or meme-worthy queen with her brave admission that she herself is trans. It’s something that some other queens have been able to discuss after their initial season, and Gia opening about her transition and how it changed her life has only opened yet another door for inclusivity and acceptance when it comes to the T in LGBTQ.
She re-emerged in the Drag Race scene at the end of 2018 on All Stars 4, where she made it to 8th place amid a very competitive group of queens. Gia also became the first openly trans queen to compete on The Emmy-winning show, which broke ground with how millions of people typically view drag and all that goes with it.
I spoke with Gia about her AS4 experience, transitioning, finding love and so much more. Take a look.
INSTINCT: How did it feel to be the first openly trans queen competing on RuPaul's Drag Race?
GIA GUNN: It first and foremost is an honor to be the first openly trans woman on Drag Race. But with that sense of reward also comes a great amount of pressure. I have gained responsibility to not only make sure I am representing my community as a whole and being mindful that everyone's journey is completely different but also staying true to myself. I can only hope that my participation can lead to greater things for other trans individuals and open doors for more opportunities to arise.
Do you think that your appearance will inspire other trans women to audition for future seasons?
Absolutely! Honestly the only reason that I even agreed to go on the show was to hopefully provide a sense of faith for others to encourage them to never give up and stay inspired. Keep creating and know their craft/talent is just as worthy as any other drag queen in the world. Whether WOW continues to make this possible for others, that I have no control over and can only hope for the best!
At what point did you realize that you were trans and what was the process like when you not only started transitioning but telling your loved ones about this in real life?
I saw my very first drag performer at the age of 18 and they happened to be a beautiful trans woman. At that moment I remember my mind sparking and seeing something in her that I knew I had in me. However, I decided to continue living as I was and continuing to educate myself on what trans life was really like beyond the stage. My mother had asked me to wait until I was 25 to make a decision and she suggested that this is when one's brain is fully developed. Sure enough at 25 I started my hormone replacement therapy and it has been pretty much uphill since then. I am blessed to have friends and family who decided to not only support my transition but also go through this process with me. My parents took it upon them to educate themselves on what this meant for them as parents and how they could be better parents to their child who was going through this.
Did you lose friends and family members as a result? What was the most challenging this in this experience for you?
I fortunately didn't lose anyone due to my decision and if anything I feel like it brought me closer to my loved ones. However, I realize for some people the decision to transition can distance them and that is why I continue to be public about my journey to help shed some light! The most challenging part of coming out was the fact that some people felt like they were losing me or in my parent's mind that they were losing their "son." This was difficult for me to accept but putting myself in their shoes gave me a better perspective. That's why with anything in life communication is key and educating those around you about things they are ignorant to is a very healthy motive!
Can you tell us about your mini-doc and what fans can expect from it?
My mini documentary on my YouTube channel, GiaGunnEntertainment, is basically showcasing the 6-month process leading up to my surgery. From the very first consultations to the morning of the surgery, the process of the actual surgery and the aftercare as well. I choose to document this to show other trans individuals the proper options we have in terms of changing our bodies and to help educate people on what happens during surgery and gain a better idea what the actual physical process is like.
Outside of all of that, are you dating anyone right now? If not, what do you look for in your significant other?
After 28 years of searching for love I have been so fortunate in being able to meet a man that I thought never existed! For many years I spent so much time looking for someone to love me and validate me as female. Not realizing that this had to come from within first before expecting someone to come along and do this for me. Dating as a trans person can be so difficult as we suffer from inner insecurities, the shame society puts on us and our potential partners and simply finding love in general is hard! However, what I've learned is that love will find you and if your true to yourself, others will be true to you.
Anything else coming up in the year that you want to discuss?
I really look forward to launching my one woman show "This is me" and continuing to write my book and have it published! I also am focusing on collaborating with more influencers and brands that support what I stand for and creating more content to help in advocating for my community but also sharing my story with the world.
For more information on Gia, take a trip over to her homepage.