—Peppermint, runner-up on season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the show’s first openly trans contestant, in an op-ed for Billboard discussing RuPaul’s controversial comments about trans Drag Race competitors.
Peppermint penned the statement in response to an interview with The Guardian where RuPaul said that trans queens would “probably not” be allowed on the VH1 reality show.
“You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body,” RuPaul said in the interview. “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 kicked open so many doors for queer and gender non-conforming folks and is an absolute trailblazer in the world of drag,” Peppermint wrote. “But recently, Ru made statements I disagree with.”
Peppermint said that nobody should have the ability to define gender identity, or as she puts it, “transness.”
“I also learned women should not be defined by what surgeries they have or haven’t had,” she wrote. ‘The most important takeaway is that ones transition, the beginning, the middle, and end, is entirely personal and cannot be categorized or measured in the context of being blessed by someone else’s validation or approval.”
Peppermint did agree with RuPaul’s statement that “drag is a big F-You to male-dominated culture,” but countered it by saying that sense of non-conforming is not just for men.
“Trans women and women, have always been directly and indirectly contributing to the art form of drag,” Peppermint wrote. “My hope is that together, we can uplift all forms of drag, both on TV, and in the real world. Gay men do not own the idea of gender performance. Unfortunately it won’t be the first or last time we will hear a woman can’t do something a man can. I’m out to change that.”
RuPaul apologized for his comments in a series of tweets on Monday, referring to the trans community as “heroes” in the LGBTQ movement.
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