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Dear RuPaul, Everyone Should Be Allowed to Play in the Toybox of Drag

RuPaul’s recent comments sparked a bit of a reaction online…

We love us some RuPaul but we cannot, and will not, stand for the comments recently made in an interview.

For those playing catch-up, last weekend RuPaul had an interview with The Guardian. In what should have been a celebration of the mainstream success that RuPaul’s Drag Race has had over recent years, the interview was eclipsed by RuPaul’s comments about trans people.

 

When asked about whether trans people should be allowed to compete in the reality show, RuPaul said no, adding that “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.”

Rightly so, the comments made by RuPaul have been met with much anger and confusion from users on social media. In fact, stars of the show have even stepped up to disagree with his comments. In fact, there are many contestants who identify as trans including Peppermint, Gia Gunn, Jinkx Monsoon, and Monica Beverly Hillz.

 

RuPaul’s comments bring two issues into the limelight here. Firstly, how can such small-minded and uneducated views exist from the host of one of the biggest (if not THE) LGBTQ+ shows on television. Like it or not, that positioning aligns you with some responsibility for representing community. The comments also highlight a bigger issue in just how accepted trans people are from within their own LGBTQ+ spectrum.

If gay men performing as women is on the scale of “really punk rock” then surely a cis man or woman, trans person, or dog is on the scale of fucking death metal. Why is it that drag gives men a playful subversive attitude to gender yet a trans woman doing the exact same is not to standard.

Drag has always been about refusing to conform, it’s a platform to break the mould and to continue breaking that. Let’s not allow that very platform be the one to turn others away. Anyone should be welcomed into the spectacular world of drag if they so wish to, whether it’s as an attendee at a show or competing in the biggest drag pageant in the world.

Drag is beautiful, we should be honoured that people want to come and join us in the toy box that is gender identity.

 

As soon as we start to define who and who can’t perform and label it as drag then we end up facing the exact same issues that have faced the LGBTQ+ community in the past. It’s about equality, it’s about acceptance, it’s about doing drag and calling it drag if you fucking want to.

I don’t think RuPaul meant to target the trans community the way his comments made out to sound like. It comes from an ignorance and an old-fashioned viewpoint of what should and shouldn’t be. I’m by no means excusing his comments, but he needs to learn that drag is constantly changing. Even RuPaul’s Drag Race is constantly changing (hello season 1 filter, sponsored by your friends at Vaseline).

People within the community (and outside too for that matter) who have this viewpoint need to be educated on the flaws and hypocritical double-standards of such comments, and expect such remarks to be questioned and disagreed with. By doing so, it would be hoped that such opinions would sashay away (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

 

It looks like this could already be happening. When a Twitter user suggested that RuPaul invites trans queens onto his What’s the Tee! podcast to talk the comments out, Michelle Visage replied with “GREAT idea!”.

To any trans person who has felt upset by RuPaul’s comments, felt singled-out by the drag/LGBTQ+ community, I tell you this: We don’t all have the same views, go out there and be “really punk rock” by continuing to do you. Do drag, do whatever. When someone tells you that you can’t do something, make sure you do it even louder.

I still love RuPaul, and appreciate what he’s done for the drag and LGBTQ+ community. I’m just disappointed and surprised by his comments. Hopefully, he will realise how destructive his words were and apologise. There are bigger issues in the world, let’s not add drag to that list too.

What do you think?

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