ugh i want to get really uncomfortably rich and then just. go around and anonymously donate huge amounts of money to people for things like HEY youre trying to move away from your abusive parents?? BAM 10 thousand mystery dollars oh whats that your dog needs surgery?? BAM paid for hey you cant afford to go to that con with your friends?? BAM better get your cosplay ready you fucking nerd
Fuck you for perpetuating the use of derogatory language towards trans women.
Fuck you for saying the only difference between a drag queen and a trans woman is “$25,000 and a good surgeon”, but also contractually excluding then from being contestants on your show.
Fuck you for not considering or caring that a lot of people watch your show who will believe whatever you say about queer and trans people because they don’t actually know any outside of tv.
Fuck you for pretending you care about being a role model for queer youth, and then dehumanizing certain queer identities that you deem it appropriate to make fun of.
Fuck you for thinking you have the agency to spread such hate under the guise of a joke because you’re a gay male and a drag queen.
Fuck you for making it ok for your viewers to repeat the hateful things you say.
Fuck you for perpetuating transmisogyny in gay communities.
Fuck you for validating gay men across the country who think it’s cool to throw around the word tr***y as an insult to one’s appearance.
Fuck you for making anyone who’s ever invalidated a trans woman feel comfortable in that decision.
Fuck you for encouraging your cast and viewers to make hookers the punch line in many a joke.
Fuck you for only ever talking about sex workers in a negative light.
Fuck you for not trying to educate your viewers as to where drag came from, and paying homage to the hookers and trans women who paved the way in the ball community.
Fuck you for pandering to straight people and giving them license to use queer language.
Fuck you for having Dan Savage on your show and displaying him as a beacon of the gay community when he’s even a worse spokesperson for queers than you.
But basically, fuck you for being one of the most visible gay icons and acting as such a shitty representative for us and using your fame to perpetuate stereotypes that get people bullied and killed on a regular basis.
Alright, this post has been bothering me all day. Not because I’m some Ru Paul fan who has to back up Ru at every corner, but because this is all a lot of stuff that I agree with. Since I first watched RPDR, RuPaul’s Drag Race, I felt a large cognitive dissonance towards the show.
This cognitive dissonance was probably best displayed in the Season Two reunion episode. In the finale Sonique shows how difficult it was for her to come to terms with her gender-identity. She has the hardest time telling the queens of RPDR that she’s going to ‘transition’ and ends up running off stage to cry.
RuPaul makes all of the queens on RPDR watch “Paris is Burning” before they come on the show. Paris is Burning is a documentary about the ball scene from the mid- to late- 1980s. The documentary features transgender women and drag queens as the target focus. The end note is about coming to terms with those around us no matter what their sexuality, sex, or gender. It’s a tragic documentary, but the ending makes you realize the importance of having a place that is inclusive and accepts you no matter what.
Drag culture was originally a culture that accepted you no matter who you were. It was primarily made up of LGBT* persons, and, since they were in no position to judge, they would accept anyone who wanted to be included. It didn’t matter who you were or what you looked like because drag culture provided a place for everyone.
The air of inclusivity is what RPDR is missing. We understand, for the most part, that the show is about persons who are outwardly male dressing up to be outwardly female. From what I’ve seen, if you’re not distinctly ‘a man’ trying to be distinctly ‘a woman’ then you’re fucking up somehow. Jiggly Caliente, Stacy Layne Matthews, and Tatianna were all teased for either looking or feeling outwardly female. Jiggly and Stacey both had long hair, which was apparently enough for them to be teased about wanting to be a woman. Tatianna discussed how she felt that she was inwardly female and how her Drag Persona was a display of her inner female. Tatianna was then made a fool because none of the other queens felt that way. Additionally, Milan was chastised several times for being too androgynous on a show that hosts characters who challenge the idea of what it means “of a gender”.
I could go on and on about the examples in which RPDR is not making lives for Trans* persons any better. I don’t have the time to do that, but I do want everybody to know one thing. STOP USING THE T-WORD! I shouldn’t have to tell you why. You should just understand that it’s insulting, hurtful, and oppressive to Trans* persons. I may be genderqueer, but it’s still an insulting word to me and it’s insulting to my fellow Trans* friends.
Now, I love watching RPDR because it is highly entertaining. I love the humour, elegance, and drama that each contestant brings to the mainstage; however, I also understand that it is still ‘reality’ TV. I’m frustrated because a show that I just love to watch and talk about is reaching this point where I’m doubtful if I’ll continue watching. I’m upset that a show I first assumed was full of acceptance is now undeniably not accepting anymore.
If RPDR were a place where everybody could feel included, espcially, Trans* persons, then it might have been no big deal that Sonique wanted to transition. RuPaul should see the culture that’s being created, and essentially copied all over the U.S., and try to change it! There’s no reason that Ru needs to keep RPDR going with the same transphobic messages, reliance on traditional gender roles, and perpetration of ‘traditional’ beauty standards Personally, my least favourite thing is when queens talk about looking fishy, which is looking like a woman/passing for a woman, because it implies that if you aren’t gorgeous then you aren’t a woman.
RuPaul, there’s a lot you need to change on your own show if you want the world we live in to be a more inclusive place.
Very good commentary on a very good post. The part about Jiggly, Stacy, Tatianna and Milan was something especially interesting that I hadn’t previously given any thought to. A few other points I wanted to add…
-Sonique was unusual in choosing to publicly come out as trans during the reunion episode. Carmen Carrera, the other vocally trans previous contestant, waited until after her season finished airing to start transitioning, and didn’t actually confirm her trans status until much later when too many people started asking questions about the changes in her appearance. I have heard from the people I work with about several other previous contestants who either had begun HRT or other concealable steps towards transitioning before appearing on the show but kept it quiet and pretended to be male while filming, or have started transitioning since their show aired but are choosing to keep a low profile about it, for reasons which may or may not be related to the structure of the show? Here’s a quote from Carmen on her transition process:
“I kind of had an idea before I went to ‘Drag Race,’ so when I got the phone call for ‘Drag Race,’ I was like, OK, [transitioning] is going to have to wait[…]I had a plan. I said, OK, I’m going to go film ‘Drag Race.’ I’m going to come back home from ‘Drag Race,’ and I’m just going to go back to my normal life. I’m going to just go to the doctor. I’m going to start my transition. I’m going to keep it really to myself and anything Carmen-related would be the drag shows. There wouldn’t be anything really personal that I would talk about. I kind of did that. And I left little hints, little clues, you know?”
and another series of quotes about the views of Drag Race producers-
Q: Would you do the all-stars season of ‘Drag Race’? A: I would. I definitely would. But I don’t know if they would ask me.
Q: Why? A: A lot of TV networks and producers, sometimes they’re afraid to take a risk. I feel like some people prefer to have drama and negativity and fights over educational, empowering examples of people. It just happens sometimes. I don’t know if they’re ready to kind of start doing things like that.
Q: Really? A: Maybe it’s easier for people to watch a boy put on makeup and do drag. It makes sense to more people than it does some who is transgender, going through a transition, doing drag. Because honestly, there’s no rules to drag. You can’t say in order to be a drag queen you have to live your life as a man. No. That’s not true.
-Candis Cayne was featured as a guest choreographer on season 4 of Drag Race, but no mention was made of her trans status or contributions to both the drag and transgender community, rather just quickly saying that she’s a “superstar and a great dancer” and moving on. Piyah Martell was also featured as a guest on the show that season, and again, no mention is made of her trans status during the show despite almost all google results for her name including the phrase “transgender teen.” Neither of these women are shy about being trans so it seems odd that it would not be discussed at all on the show unless the producers were deliberately ignoring it?
-The term “fishy”, which is explained above, originates from the stereotype that vaginas smell like rotting fish. Which, if you break it down, is first of all just a really gross idea to turn into a compliment, but also misogynist for perpetuating the fallacy that (cis) womens’ genitalia is unclean or repulsive, and cissexist and binarist for equating having a vagina with being female/feminine and not having a vagina to not being female/feminine. It also feeds into the dangerous culture where passing as cis is something one should always strive for and be applauded for achieving. It’s just overall a really nasty and damaging term and I’m very uncomfortable that it’s become so widespread.
Like the previous poster said, it makes me incredibly sad that this show I once overwhelmingly enjoyed watching has become so off-putting that I have found it harder and harder to do so, especially balanced against the fact that I’m continuing to meet and befriend previous and future contestants who are all lovely people that I’d like to support. In the drag scene, the effects (both positive and negative) of the show are near impossible to avoid and are becoming increasingly saturated into mainstream popular culture as well, so I agree that a whole lot of things need to change soon, and fast.
Like when women hate men it’s frustrating at worst, maybe it hurts someone’s feelings, but when men hate women they are shamed, abused, patronized, demeaned, objectified, raped, and murdered, ya feel me, so even if I WAS a raging misandrist like worst case scenario I’d be a bummer at parties, meanwhile a girl somewhere literally can’t leave her house because it’s dark outside.