While RuPaul once said he would “probably not” let a transitioning queen compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, he’s now claiming those comments were taken “so out of context.”
In a new interview with the Sunday Times, RuPaul was asked if he still believes trans and cis women have no place competing on his show, which is debutingits U.K. edition 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.”
People are probably obsessed with that question because RuPaul told the Guardian last year that drag’s inherent political power stems from “men dressing up as women” and “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.” Gia Gunn went on to compete on All Stars 4, although she later said she felt she’d been brought on the show to “clean up somebody's mess” and “show the world that this show does quote unquote support trans and that she does see trans people as drag queens.”
But RuPaul has now told the Times that trans women and drag queens “share a history.” He added, “The two worlds 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.’”
“Women are in drag,” he added. “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.” Really makes you think.
When asked again if trans and cis women alike would be allowed to compete on Drag Race, the legend was left “mumbling” and “tongue-tied,” according to reporter Katie Glass, untila producer stepped in to say the show is “inclusive because it’s on the BBC.” RuPaul sent a follow-up email claiming he’s “learnt to never say never,” which is still emphatically not a yes.