Drag superstar RuPaul has apologised for comments about trans women drag queens that he made in an interview.
He had said he would “probably not” let a post-transition trans women appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race, saying that the power of drag is in its subversion of gender and the dissonance of “men dressing up as women”, Out has reported.
“So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.”
On the matter of trans women who perform as drag queens, he seemed to consider surgical status the most relevant factor.
“It’s an interesting area,” RuPaul said.
“[Season nine contestant] Peppermint didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned.”
He said he would “probably not” let a woman who had transitioned compete on the show.
“You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body,” he said.
“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.”
RuPaul’s comments have been received poorly by many in the trans community and their friends.
“Ru essentially said that Peppermint wasn’t actually a woman on the show because she hadn’t had surgery. This is highly reductive of what it means to be trans by saying you’re only a real woman if you have breasts,” tweeted one person.
“Like surgery is the one thing that will make a trans woman a real woman. Fuck RuPaul, man,” posted another.
RuPaul has been criticised before for frequent use of transphobic slurs in the context of drag.
He today took to Twitter to apologise for his comments and thank the trans community.
“Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience. I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers,” he posted.
At least 10 trans and non-binary drag queens have appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
ru essentially said that peppermint wasnt actually a woman on the show because she hadn't had surgery. This is highly reductive of what it means to be trans by saying you're only a real woman if you have breasts.
— charis russell (@killurdarlingzz) March 5, 2018
a trans drag queen got gay people many of their rights, to try and exclude them from a show about drag because they are ‘too womenly’ after surgery etc is disgusting tbh rupaul can suck a fart
— toni 🌹 (@toekneemullen) March 4, 2018
rupaul thinks trans women somehow have an unfair advantage in his drag competition, but also encourages queens who have had surgery done on 99% of their bodies (for their drag) to compete 🤔modern transphobic superstar
— ⭐ INK @ RPDR AS3 (@inkwail) March 4, 2018
fucking dumb as hell!! Like surgery is the one thing that will make a trans woman a real woman >:/ fuck rupaul man
— trippy fun guy (@radihoehead) March 4, 2018
Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience. I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers. pic.twitter.com/80Qi2halN2
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018