The network and producers behind RuPaul’s Drag Race have issued statements responding to harsh criticism lobbed their way after the show featured an episode many trans people found offensive.
BY Parker Marie Molloy
March 29 2014
Earlier this month, RuPaul’s Drag Race featured a segment titled, “Female or She-male.” The segment’s use of the antitransgender slur was widely panned as transphobic. In the days that followed, a number of publications — including The Advocate — ran pieces documenting the online backlash aimed at the show, Logo TV, and media advocacy organization GLAAD.
The show has long been viewed by some transgender individuals as transphobic, making use of slurs explicitly labeled as “defamatory” in GLAAD’s trangender media reference guide. For his part, RuPaul has long defended the use of such slurs — specifically the word “tranny” — going so far as to speak out against celebrities who have apologized for public use of the word in a 2012 Huffington Post interview.
“It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous! I love the word ‘tranny,'” RuPaul told Huff Po when asked his opinion on Lance Bass apologizing for using the word. “I hate the fact that he’s apologized. I wish he would have said, ‘F-you, you tranny jerk!'”
Nearly two weeks after the “She-male” episode first aired, the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race issued a statement responding to allegations of transphobic rhetoric, while media watchdog organization GLAAD also provided insight into the work it’s been doing behind the scenes with Logo and Drag Race.
“We delight in celebrating every color in the LGBT rainbow,” the show’s executive producers wrote. “When it comes to the movement of our trans sisters and trans brothers, we are newly sensitized and more committed than ever to help spread love, acceptance and understanding.
The channel which hosts RuPaul’s Drag Race, Viacom-owned Logo TV, also responded to criticism, promising to improve its coverage of trans individuals, though stopping short of admitting any wrongdoing.
“We have heard the concerns around this segment,” Logo’s statement reads. “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.”