In a recent interview with The Guardian, RuPaul said he would "probably not" allow transgender women who've begun gender-affirming transition surgeries to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race.
During the interview, RuPaul is asked how the drag competition is solely "men dressing up as women" if transgender women like Season 9's Peppermint identify as female. He explains that he doesn't see drag as wearing women’s clothes but instead, "wearing clothes that are hyperfeminine, that represent our culture’s synthetic idea of femininity."
He then explains that transitioning women, as well as biological women, are unwelcome 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. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity."
So what about Monica Beverly Hillz and Peppermint, two queens who came out as transgender on the show? RuPaul suggests that they were still men dressing up as women because they hadn't yet physically transitioned. "Peppermint didn’t get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn’t really transitioned."
To top it off, RuPaul says he would "probably not" let anyone who had transitioned compete. "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."
RuPaul doubled down on his take on Twitter this morning:
You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/HkJjzXzUGm
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018
Monica Beverly Hillz, the first contestant to come out as transgender in Season 5, perfectly explained the problem with RuPaul's antiquated ideas on gender.
"Our bodies do not equate our identity," Hillz told INTO. "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."
"Everybody should be given the opportunity to compete," Hillz went on. "I have a lot of trans friends who already perform and would make fierce competitors on the show. We're really missing out on the important and powerful stories of trans women who have had to fight against not only homophobia, but transphobia, even in the drag world. Now THIS would make for some good reality TV."
Season 6 contestant Gia Gunn, who came out as trans just last year, was just as disappointed in Ru. "Makes me so sad that our own leader doesn’t even see us as valid competitors in a world that’s supposed to be 'all inclusive,'" Gunn commented on Hillz's Instagram post. "I’ve felt this was the case for many years but now it’s presenting itself in the flesh and showing its true colors. Only #girlslikeus can do something about it!"
Considering RuPaul's Drag Race's deliberate deconstruction of femininity, Ru's desire to fuck with gender, and drag's long history with the transgender community, his decision to keep Drag Race a boys' club is deeply disappointing.