RuPaul has been under fire for comments he made during an interview with The Guardian. In the interview, the drag icon said that he would “probably not” allow fully-transitioned transgender individuals or “bio queens” (biological women who mimic femininity through exaggerated drag characters) compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The drag star has since apologized for his statements on Twitter, saying “I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers.”
Season 9 runner-up Peppermint, who identifies as trans and was mentioned by RuPaul during the interview, said in an op-ed with Billboard that she hopes his apology is a step toward creating conversation and change. “It shows all of us, there is room for growth, education, and I’m hoping a bit of evolution,” she said.
Peppermint was not the only former Drag Race contestant to react to the controversy. Several of the show’s biggest stars took to social media to express their opinions.
Some queens took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the trans community for all of their work in establishing and forwarding the artform of drag:
My drag was born in a community full of trans women, trans men, and gender non-conforming folks doing drag. That’s the real world of drag, like it or not. I thinks it’s fabulous and I will fight my entire life to protect and uplift it.
— Sasha Velour (@sasha_velour) March 5, 2018
So much of who I am as a Drag Queen and as a person are a direct reflection of the contributions from my Trans and cis women allies. Drag is an Artform that celebrates dismantling gender norms, and should always be viewed as such. We’re all born naked and the rest is Drag?–?
— Shea Couleé (@SheaCoulee) March 6, 2018
Other queens took the opportunity to point out that drag is an artform that is not defined by a person’s gender identity:
“THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN A WOMAN IN DRAG.”
– Trixie Mattel has spoken.
— Jeffrey Masters (@jeffmasters1) March 6, 2018
All drag is beautiful
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) March 5, 2018
Drag is fun. Drag is not to be taken too seriously. Drag is expression. Drag is art. Drag is for everyone. Drag can be created by anyone. ?–
— TATIANNA (@TATIANNANOW) March 5, 2018
A few queens defended Ru. Derrick Barry, from season 8 of Drag Race, took to Twitter and said. “It’s RuPaul’s show, and he deserves to make the rules.” Meanwhile, Sharon Needles, the season 4 winner, commented that she had said some “crazy s–t” in interviews. Michelle Visage urged people to listen to and take Ru’s apology seriously.
— Derrick Barry (@DerrickBarry) March 4, 2018
— Sharon Needles (@SHARON_NEEDLES) March 7, 2018
PLEASE HEAR THIS. PLEASE https://t.co/LHPyloapKA
— michelle visage (@michellevisage) March 6, 2018
Several queens were more directly critical of RuPaul’s comments:
There’s a revolution amongst the rebels. Pay attention !!! We refuse to stay marginalized and held down while you chose who to take up with you. #blend #thotprocess #transpower @Peppermint247 kudos to your song. It’s timely and very relavant to our times. #transrevolution
— Jiggly Caliente (@JigglyCaliente) March 4, 2018
“I’ve always been a woman, so what I’ve done to my body or that I hadn’t started hormones while on the show doesn’t take away my identity,” @MonicaBHillz told INTO. “Our bodies do not equate our identity.” #DragRacehttps://t.co/dIl1OlVmF5
— INTO (@Into) March 4, 2018
Trans women were the first entertainers I ever saw in drag & have always been a big part of the industry. To now hear such words of segregation from an icon who has created a world wide community of unity, makes me sad. Is never been LGB so let’s not forget about the T!
— Gia Gunn (@GiaGunn) March 5, 2018
My partner of almost three years is trans, and #bendelachrist help anyone who tries to tell him what he can and can’t do. Just sayin’.
— bendelacreme (@bendelacreme) March 5, 2018