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RuPaul Says Comments About Trans Queens on 'Drag Race' Were 'Out of Context'

Monday Sep 16, 2019
RuPaul
RuPaul  (Source:AP Photo/Joseph Longo)

In a new interview with the U.K. newspaper the Sunday Times RuPaul said his comments about whether or not he'd allow transgender drag queens to compete on his hit reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" were taken "so out of context."

Back in 2018, RuPaul, who won his fourth consecutive Emmy award for outstanding reality TV host Sunday, came under fire for saying he'd "probably not" allow trans drag queens to compete on the VH1 show. In his new interview with the Sunday Times, he was asked if he's changed his mind ahead of the U.K. version of "Drag Race," which airs next month.

"Why are people obsessed with that question?" he asked. "There seems to be this obsession with trying to create this 'us against them' storyline."

He went on to say that trans women and drag queens "share a history."

"The two worlds intersect, but also maintain their own unique qualities," Ru told the newspaper, adding, "One of our contestants, Monica Beverly Hillz, said it best when she said, 'Drag is what I do, trans is who I am.'"

"Women are in drag," he added. "You're born naked and the rest is drag."

The Sunday Times reporter Katie Glass then asked Ru if trans and cis women could compete on "Drag Race" and, according to Glass, the question left him "mumbling" and "tongue-tied." A producer then stepped in to say that the show is "inclusive because it's on the BBC."

Ru later sent a follow-up email, saying he's "learned to never say never."

When speaking to the Guardian last year, Ru faced criticism for his remarks about trans drag queens — especially since Peppermint, who is trans, had recently competed on Season 9 of the show.

"You can identify as a woman and say you're transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body," he said at the time. "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.'"

Ru went on to say that he believes drag loses its "danger" when it's not men performing.

"At its core, it's a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture," he told the Guardian. "So for men to do it, it's really punk rock, because it's a real rejection of masculinity."

He also mentioned Peppermint: "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.

After a backlash, Ru took to Twitter and said: "You can take performance-enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics." That only made things worse with a number of "Drag Race" stars calling out Ru, who eventually clarified things, tweeting:

"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 added: "In the 10 years we've been casting 'Drag Race', the only thing we've ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change."

Click here to read Ru's interview with the Sunday Times.

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