Trans Women of Drag Speaking Out
Before straight people around the world could turn on their TVs and watch one of the LGBTQ community’s most essential art forms, drag existed in smaller, more hidden settings. It was built by a more diverse population than even the show. In essence, what queer people know to be true is that drag has always been a trans art. Taylor and Rupp (2004) explain that “the 801 Girls point to two kinds of personal identities linked to the performance of drag as a collective identity and strategy for undermining normative gender arrangements. For some, being a drag queen is about expressing a transgender identity” (p. 121). https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1728&context=etds
RuPaul who undoubtedly one of the most influential names ins drag culture and the LGBTQ has had his choice words and opinions of trans women. In an interview with The Guardian RuPaul stated: “You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body.” This sort of comment set fire to many trans women in the community. RuPaul got a lot of social media backlash from his comments about letting trans women on the show.
Peppermint issued a vague but pointed tweet expressing her reaction
According to Seventeen Magazine RuPaul clarified that Peppermint, from Season 9 who was out as trans during the filming, was allowed to participate because she had not yet received “breast implants.” RuPaul added, “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.”
Peppermint came out publicly after the episodes were filmed in a moving interview where that she used drag as a disguise for her transition.
The controversy has reignited debates about the boundaries of drag and the role of the art form in an era when trans people are increasingly visible and gender is more widely seen as fluid.
Honey Mahogany, a San Francisco performer and former Drag Race contestant, noted that trans women could feel unwelcome in spaces that are traditionally dominated by gay men.
Drag, she added, should break down the binary, not reinforce it. “If drag is supposed to be a revolutionary act, and RuPaul is saying it becomes less revolutionary when she’s a trans woman, that really calls into question the entire system.”