Maddy Morphosis, the first cisgendered heterosexual man to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, has been met with a chorus of disapproval from some fans. 

Critics of the controversial casting have questioned why a straight man was given a space, which many felt should have  gone to a Queer performer. 

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Maddy Morphosis, a contestant on season 14 of the iconic show that premieres on January 7, 2022, has now taken to social media to address the controversy. 

 Maddy Morphosis Respond To Critics  

“I just wanted to take a moment and talk about a few things regarding myself,  the show and the reaction. Obviously, with short clips and snippets you don’t get a full sense of who someone is, or their story,” Maddy said in the statement,  which was posted to their Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

“I entered the scene shortly after high school, because it was a safe space for  me to explore my own gender identity. The people I met, and the experiences I  had, helped me understand more about gender and sexuality, what it meant to  me and where I fit in with everything. Drag wasn’t even something I considered  when I first started going out. It was something that just happened to be in the  scene I was in, then fell in love with.”  

“Doing drag the past 5 years has given me even more opportunities to further  explore my own identity, and also understand more about others,” the 26-year-old from Fayetteville, Arkansas said. 

 Drag Race Fans Reaction Divided on Casting  

Not everyone was impressed, however. “Is there any space straight white men  DONT try to take over????,” said one user on Twitter, while another said, ”No  straight cisgender people on drag race! This is appropriation of our culture. Drag  is meant for LGBT+ people who don’t normally have an outlet to express their  creativity and be celebrated as LGBT+.” 

Other fans offered support, with one saying on Twitter, ”This is super exciting  but I also am dreading the hate you will get as the drag race fanbase are the  most horrible group of people already seeing so much hate and the season  hasn’t even started be strong man keep doing you.” 

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Angeria Paris VanMichaels, one of Maddy’s competitors on season 14, tweeted  her support. “It’s Monday and my MCM is my Maddyyyy!!!! LITERALLY one of  the most sweet, talented and brave people I know!!! I wish you all the success in the world @maddymorphosis and know that you’ll always have a real friend in  me!! I STAN!! DRAG IS FOR EVERYONE!!!” 

Maddy Morphosis On Breaking Stereotypes  

 

 

“The concepts of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are arbitrary and made up. And the  rigid line drawn between them just feeds the stigma of men who embrace  femininity, and perpetuates the cycle of toxic-masculinity. If there’s a message I  hope to convey to people, it’s that you don’t have to inhabit the box that society  puts you in just to be comfortable in your own sexuality,” said Maddy in their  statement. 

Maddy told EW, ”I started to question myself. Who was I? I wasn’t into things  that were traditionally masculine. Am I trans? Does that mean I’m gay?” 

“I learned I can take a lot of those aspects and apply it to my daily life. As far as  the gender stuff, I learned that all the things related to gender are arbitrary. I  identify as a cisgender straight man, but I’m gender non-conforming in my  presentation. I can go out, do drag, put on makeup and heels, but it doesn’t  alter who I am as a person or shape who or what I am,” Maddy told EW

Maddy Calls for Drag to Become More Inclusive 

 

 

“I’m not here to show the world that ‘straight guys can do drag.’ For anyone  saying that I’m representing an underrepresented group, I appreciate you, but  straight men are not a persecuted and excluded group within the drag  community. I’ve always felt welcomed in any drag space I’ve entered, and have never been shunned, excluded or persecuted because of my sexuality.” 

“I know many entertainers who have been discriminated against for being AFAB,  trans, POC and more. I think one of the best things to come out of my casting is  that it’s kicking up a lot more talk about representation in the drag scene. And I  hope that it helps lead to more marginalized groups being showcased and  represented,” Maddy said in their statement. 

 “While I am straight, I don’t consider myself a straight drag queen. I’m just a  drag queen who happens to be straight,” Maddy said in their introduction during  the cast ru-veal on December 2.

“I think my being on the show can tap into a lot of the guys watching at home  — like, cisgender, straight guys — and really just, like, projecting to them that,  like, gender is completely arbitrary. Just be yourself,” Maddy said. 

Drag Race Has History of Casting Controversies  

The Drag Race franchise has been the focus of fan controversy in the past over  inclusivity in casting. 

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three competitor Victoria Scone, who identifies  as a cisgender lesbian told The Independent, that fan response to her casting  was “overwhelmingly positive” but acknowledged that there were vocal critics  as well. “I know it seems that the negative is so horrific, but I can’t take it  personally because they are misogynists,” Victoria said. 

“If your only reason for not enjoying me when you’ve only seen a 90-second clip  of me is that I’m not a real drag queen, I can’t take that personally. That’s just  because you have a problem with a woman doing drag,” Victoria said. 

Season 13 finalist Gottmik, an out trans man drag queen, told Gay Times, “In my opinion, a healthy soul/ person needs a good balance of masculine and feminine energy to survive. If  your artistic outlet is drag, anyone who has anything to say just hasn’t been  enlightened on the subject and is probably wishing they were brave enough to  express themselves as honest and openly,” Gottmik said. 

RuPaul Has “Open Mind” To Casting Drag Race  

RuPaul told Stephen Colbert, in a January appearance on The Late Show, they  have “to keep an open mind,” when it comes to casting. 

“I walked into this thing with an idea of what drag is and the kids have a different  idea. They keep changing it… I keep moving with what the kids are doing.” 

RuPaul’s views on who should be invited to compete on Drag Race have evolved since his in-depth interview with The Guardian in 2018, when his views  on casting angered many drag artists.  

“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,” RuPaul said at the time about casting transgendered Queens. 

“Drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it,  because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated  culture. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of  masculinity.” 

 Drag Race Casting Continues to Evolve  

Drag Race later cast transgender queen Kylie Sonique Love, who went on to  win RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 6 and Gottmik, the first trans masculine  queen, who was a finalist on season 13. The season 14 cast also includes two  transgender queens, Kerri Colby and Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté. 

Michelle Visage, told Gay Times. “For me, everything is welcome. You just have  to be good. Your audition has to be good. That’s what it comes to. Drag keeps  evolving, the show keeps evolving. Nobody’s hired because they’re a cis female or because they’re a trans man or woman. They’re hired because they’re  good.” 

“The more RuPaul’s Drag Race grows, the more drag grows. We get to  represent as much as we can and we encourage everyone to audition,” Visage  said.

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