RuPaul’s Drag Race has announced it will remove what has been called transphobic language from its programming.
Trans activists have criticized the show’s producers in the past weeks for a segment titled ‘Female or She-male’ where drag queen contestants were asked to identify whether cropped photos were former drag queen contestants or women.
Though ‘She-male’ is listed in GLAAD’s media reference as a term that ‘dehumanize[s] transgender people and should not be used,’ producers use the term in several soundbites throughout the show, including a ‘You’ve Got She-mail’ announcement to notify contestants of an incoming message from host RuPaul.
Logo, the television channel that broadcasts Drag Race and other LGBTI-related programming released an initial statement saying: ‘We are committed to sharing a diverse range of trans stories across all of our screens and look forward to featuring positive and groundbreaking stories of trans people in the future.’
Now producers have announced they are removing the term ‘she-male’ after using it in six seasons of television.
In a statement released to Huffington Post, producers said: ‘We wanted to thank the community for sharing their concerns around a recent segment and the use of the term ‘she-mail’ on Drag Race.
‘Logo has pulled the episode from all of our platforms and that challenge will not appear again.
‘Furthermore, we are removing the ‘You’ve got she-mail’ intro from new episodes of the series.
‘We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We sincerely apologize.’
Two trans former contestants of the show, Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hillz, also responded to the initial transphobic claims in statements to Huffington Post.
Carrera said: ‘Drag Race should be a little smarter about the terms they use and comprehend the fight for respect trans people are facing every minute of today. They should use their platform to educate their viewers truthfully on all facets of drag performance art.’
Monica said using the term was ‘not cute at all’ and ‘people don’t understand the daily struggle it is to be a transgender woman’.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is currently through its sixth season and has eight contestants left until America’s Next Drag Superstar is named.