The LGBTI community was founded by transgender men and women, drag queen and kings, people of color, cisgender women, gay men, and women.
All of these types of people are what makes our community an overall forward-thinking and diverse one. So, why do we consistently see a lack of representation of these people in TV, movies, magazines, and advertisement?
RuPaul’s Drag Race is a successful reality TV show that has entered mainstream culture. It has many straight viewers who are welcomed into our vibrant queer history.
However, it does not represent our history nor our future. And it must be accountable for that when it’s the only representation outlet we have.
Will women ever compete regularly on RPDR?
We are more than 10 regular seasons into RPDR now and have Gia Gunn, an openly transgender woman, cast in the new All Stars 4 show.
Many queens have come out as transgender during the filming of the show, including Monica Beverly Hillz and Peppermint. And many others after the show has aired.
When asked about allowing women to compete on the show, RuPaul said he would ‘probably not’ allow a trans woman to perform. He added: ‘You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body’.
We need to change this narrative
How is this the narrative that viewers are being taught about our history and community? That a woman is only a woman when she is stereotypically feminine-presenting?
It’s opinions like this and the lack of representation of groups such as drag kings, cisgender women, transgender women, that make this show damaging and out of sync with what’s actually happening in local communities.
We don’t need RPDR in the UK, not as it is right now.
Drag has an inclusive history
You just need to take a look at communities around the UK, such as my home Birmingham, where I perform regularly.
The scene is made up of these groups. Trans, cis women, queer women, people of color, queens and kings, non-binary individuals. We all play our part in enjoying drag and make sure to honor its inclusive history.
There are lots of drag performers across the country I’d like to see on RPDR: Violet Blonde, Victoria Sin, Chiyo, Amber Cadaverous, Adam All, Georgie Bee, Petite, Shay Shay, Venus Dimilo… the list goes on.
We are booked for our skills, not our bodies. Drag is not about just parodying femininity anymore, it hasn’t been for many years.
Drag is an artistic performance that challenges gender stereotypes. Until I see all of us not only invited but welcomed into the RPDR family, I can’t support it. Drag competitions should be based on talent, not on genitalia.