I love RuPaul dearly, but honey… we gotta talk. During an interview with The Guardian, he mentioned that he would “probably not” let a trans woman on the program, adding: “You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body.”
He backtracked on his original comments, but the damage was done as it ignited a major firestorm and debate on and off social media regarding what is drag and what isn't. With all due respect to Mama Ru, and he has definitely paid his dues and then some, saying something like that just "drags" us all back into the closet a bit.
Over the almost ten year history of RuPaul's Drag Race, several queens on the show started transitioning after their stint was over. This includes Gia Gunn, Sonique and Carmen Carrera. Monica Beverly Hillz was the first contestant to talk about being trans on the show, and Peppermint was the most recent queen to speak about transitioning on season 9.
What is so frustrating to me is that drag, at least in my opinion, has become more of a state of mind similar to what a "daddy" can be in our community. It is so much more than a look, its a persona. RuPaul's show has successfully done what many other shows have failed at: uniting the LGBTQ community and our supporters, with a big focus on the T here and I don't mean "spilling the tea."
I would've never thought I would see the day where actual straight men are talking about their love of this kind of show, when even ten years ago a good portion of the gay community found drag queens to be freakish and ones they would never date let alone say that they know. Now, that's done a complete 180 for all the queens who have been on the show, including the trans ones who have seen major success for themselves both professionally and personally. So why make such a comment?
It also comes across as backhanded to Peppermint and Monica who spoke so eloquently and openly on the show about their experience, that hearing Ru's comments almost makes it feel as if their storylines were just part of getting larger ratings and not about what's really going on with them.
We have come so far as a community for acceptance that we often forget how much of a unified front we need to be. Sure, there is shade and all of that, but at the core of it we are all in this as one, and this includes anyone who wants to pursue whatever kind of career that is out there.
If someone is trans, regardless of what stage they are when it comes to their transitioning, they should be able to do what they please without ridicule. Having one of our own, especially someone that powerful, make such comments only hurts our progress and pushes us back a little.
In other words, Shante, you stay should be for all of us… not some.
This list was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect all of Instinct Magazine's taste.