RuPaul poses with his award for outstanding host at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 2019. (JC Olivera/WireImage)
RuPaul has said that his controversial remarks – in which he compared transgender drag queens to doping athletes and said they wouldn’t be allowed to compete on Drag Race – were taken “so out of context”.
Asked by the Sunday Times whether he still holds the view that drag cannot be done by women, cis or trans, RuPaul replied, “Why are people obsessed with that question?” and complained that his quote was taken “so out of context”.
“There seems to be this obsession with trying to create this ‘us against them’ storyline,” RuPaul said.
“We share a history. The two worlds [of drag and trans people] intersect, but also maintain their own unique qualities… One of our contestants, Monica Beverly Hillz, said it best when she said, ‘Drag is what I do, trans is who I am.’”
‘Drag loses it’s sense of irony when it’s not men doing it’
In a March 2018 interview with The Guardian, RuPaul said he would “probably not” allow a transgender drag queen to compete on the show, drawing a distinction between trans women who have undergone some form of medical transition and those who are yet to do so or choose not to.
“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,” RuPaul said.
Drag Race featured it’s first openly trans contestant in 2017, when Peppermint came out on the show.
“Peppermint didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned,” RuPaul said in 2018.
“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,” he said.
RuPaul tweeted wrong flag in trans apology
After online backlash against his comments, RuPaul took to Twitter to apologise on 5 March 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.”
Immediately following that was another post:
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. pic.twitter.com/0jsyt6MRvO
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018
However, people on Twitter were quick to point out that the flag he tweeted was not the pink, white and blue trans flag, but a flag that represents trains.
.Wait. Do you…do you think this is the trans flag?! Are you seriously really that ignorant? ‘Apology’ mockingly rejected.
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) March 9, 2018
Drag Race is coming to the UK in October.