RuPaul's Drag Race has recently come under fire for its use of non-transgender friendly language. Now two of its most popular — and openly transgender — stars, Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hillz, are speaking out. But unlike how so many other media frenzies often play out, these two women are taking the high road AND proving that sometimes missteps are better framed as learning moments and an opportunity for discussion rather than continued ire.
It all began during a mini-challenge on the show titled "Female or She-Male," wherein contestants were asked to identify whether someone was a cisgender (a non-transgender woman, in this case called a "Female") woman, or a former Drag Race contestant ("She-Male") based on a portion of a photo. Several activists then came out against the show's segment, as "she-male" is considered to be an anti-transgender slur within the community (the stigma is real, y'all). This resulted in RuPaul and the show's producers to release a statement on the matter:
Speaking out, Carrera — one of the series most popular contestants, and the first openly transgender woman on the show — took to Facebook to respond to the affair, stating the following:
Following suit was Monica Beverly Hillz, another contestant who came out as transgender on the show (during season five), who echoed Carrera's learning experience motif while also pushing for further changes in the show's outlook on transgender contestants.
If only all disputes and controversies could be handled with as much grace, intelligence, and discussion-building as this. Instead of flaming the fires of rage, Carrera and Hillz both took the high road — condemning the language but coming from an empathetic place of understanding, asking people to learn from the err of their ways and move forward and educate themselves. The struggle for transgender folks is very real, but this is how you evolve, folks.