RuPaul argued that the transgender drag queen and Drag Race season 9 contestant Peppermint “hadn’t really transitioned” while on the show because she had yet to get breast implants. A few days later, on Twitter, he seemingly equated drag queens transitioning to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics,” RuPaul wrote. He has since apologized for his comments on Twitter, writing, “Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience. I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers.”
But erasing trans women from the landscape is ahistorical, and it threatens the livelihoods and standings of the trans women who make their living as drag queens when cisgender men act as gatekeepers.
Charlene Incarnate is a trans queen working in New York. In her view, RuPaul’s argument against including transgender queens in high-profile drag gigs ignores the history of the art form and takes away from the performance.