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Maddy Morphosis Opens Up About Controversial Drag Race Casting

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RuPaul's Drag Race's upcoming 14th season is making history in more ways than one. 

Aside from featuring two trans contestants, Kerri Colby and Kornbread "The Snack" Jeté, the latest round of the Emmy-winning drag reality competition is also set to feature the franchise's first-ever cis, straight male contestant: Arkansas-based queen Maddy Morphosis.

"While I am straight, I don't consider myself a straight drag queen. I'm just a drag queen who happens to be straight," Maddy said during the official "Meet the Queens" live stream event last week. "My sexuality doesn't define the drag that I do, it doesn't impact that. It's just a facet of who I am outside of drag."

"I think my being on the show can tap into a lot of the guys watching at home — like, cisgender, straight guys — and really just, like, projecting to them that, like, gender is completely arbitrary," she continued. "Just be yourself."

Naturally, as is the case when anything new/different is announced in a beloved and long-running media franchise, the decision to include Maddy in the competition came with both praise and criticism.

Some folks online weren't too happy with what they saw as a privileged, cishetero, white man taking up space in one of the LGBTQ+ community's more visible platforms...

...while others saw the move as an opportunity to showcase that drag is an art form for anyone to participate in.

Social media was filled with tons of takes, but now, Maddy is breaking her silence and addressing the casting on her own accounts.

In a heartfelt open letter posted to both her Twitter and Instagram accounts, Maddy revealed that she entered the drag scene shortly after finishing high school because it was "a safe space for me to explore my own gender identity." 

"The people I met and the experiences I had helped me understand more about gender and sexuality, what it meant to me, and where I fit in with everything," she wrote. "Drag wasn't even something I considered when I first started going out. It just happened to be in the scene I was in that I fell in love with. But doing drag the past 5 years has given me even more opportunities to further explore my own identity, and also understand more about others."

She continued:

"The concepts of 'masculine' and 'feminine' are arbitrary and made up. And the rigid line drawn between them just feeds the stigma of men who embrace femininity and perpetuates the cycle of toxic masculinity. If there’s a message that I hope to convey to people, it’s that you don’t have [to] inhabit the box society puts you in just to be comfortable in your own sexuality."

Elsewhere in the letter, Maddy let it be known that while she appreciates people sticking up for her and her casting, she knows straight men are not a persecuted and excluded group in the drag community, and that while she's always felt welcomed in every drag space they've entered, there are so many drag entertainers of marginalized identities out there who have been discriminated against simply for being who they are. 

"I think one of the best things to come out of my casting is that it’s kicking up a lot more talk about representation in the drag scene," Maddy concluded. "I hope that it helps lead to more marginalized groups being showcased and represented."

Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premieres Friday, January 7 at 8pm on VH1.

RELATED | Here Are all the Drag Race Queens Who Won Crowns in 2021

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