(EDGE) RuPaul is apologizing for comments he made in a new interview with the Guardian, in which she said he'd "probably" not allow a transitioning drag queen to compete on "RuPaul's Drag Race," which sparked an online backlash from fans and the show's stars alike.
Speaking with the Guardian, the 57-year-old Emmy-winning host said the topic of trans drag queens is "an interesting area," adding he feels performers can identify as a woman and do drag but that he isn't sure they can do drag with a female body. When asked if he'd allow a contestant who has fully transitioned, Ru responded by saying:
"Probably not. You can identify as a woman and say you're transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body," he told the newspaper. "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.'"
Ru went on to say that he believes drag loses its "danger" when it's not men performing.
"At its core, it's a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture," he said. "So for men to do it, it's really punk rock, because it's a real rejection of masculinity."
"Drag Race" has featured transgender contestants in the past, most recently Season 9 star Peppermint, who made it to the finals that season. In the Guardian interview, Ru mentions Peppermint and discusses her body.
"Peppermint didn't get breast implants until after she left our show; she was identifying as a woman, but she hadn't really transitioned," he said.
Other "Drag Race" stars have come out as trans after competing on the reality show, including Sonique, Carmen Carrera, Stacy Layne Matthews, Jiggly Caliente, Kenya Michaels and Gia Gunn. Monica Beverly Hillz came out as trans while on the show in Season 5.
It didn't take long for fans to take issue with Ru's comments, making the voices heard online. You can read some of the tweets by clicking here. But Ru seemed to initially double down on her stance, tweeting on Monday: "You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics."
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
That's when several "Drag Race" stars took to social media to address the controversy, including Season 9 winner Sasha Velour, Gia Gunn, BenDeLaCreme, Adore Delano, Willam, Tatianna, Jiggly Caliente and more.
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
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
Any human can pick up a box of color & create their inner superhero. I wouldn't be the drag artist I am today if it weren't for my trans brothers & sisters. Every type of expression is valid & that's coming from the "tomboy of drag".— Adore Delano (@AdoreDelano) March 6, 2018
We all know in our drag community that if casting knew you were trans, you’d be disqualified. Charisma uniqueness nerve and talent were NOT the only thing they screened for. I couldn’t find the gif of me saying BULLSHIT at the reunion so we’ll use this: pic.twitter.com/8ZuB7he9rP— Willam (@willam) March 6, 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
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
All drag is beautiful— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) March 5, 2018
The outcry from both fans and "Drag Race" stars seemed to impact Ru, who eventually returned to Twitter Monday to offer an apology for her remarks.
"Each morning I pray to set aside everything I THINK I know, so I may have an open mind and a new experience," Ru wrote. "I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers."
He added: "In the 10 years we've been casting 'Drag Race', the only thing we've ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change."
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. pic.twitter.com/80Qi2halN2— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018
In the 10 years we’ve been casting Drag Race, the only thing we've ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change. pic.twitter.com/0jsyt6MRvO— RuPaul (@RuPaul) March 5, 2018