In a new interview with the Guardian, RuPaul stood firm on his stance that trans women and bio-queens are unwelcome on Drag Race. After explaining that drag's political power lies in the dissonance of "men dressing up as women," Ru was asked if he'd allow a "biological woman" to compete on the show.
“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 tells Guardian. "So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.” When asked if trans women can be drag queens, he brings up season nine contestant Peppermint, who was the first out trans woman to compete on the show. “Mmmm. It’s an interesting area. Peppermint didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned.”
The interviewer goes on to ask if RuPaul would allow a trans woman who was actively transitioning to compete. “Probably not. 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.”
These statements go to show how antiquated RuPaul's conceptions of trans identity and the queering of gender really are. For someone who is deservedly lauded as an icon of genderfuckery, the fact that RuPaul still sees drag as a boys' club is disappointing, not to mention the fact that he reduces trans identity to whether or not a person has had surgery. The notion that the only true power to be found in an art form that has expanded so much since RuPaul came up seems insulting in the face of the incredible female artists — both cisgender and trans — who are doing drag today, largely thanks to the influence of Drag Race.