Providing a pivotal pause for thought during the May 12 episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, Peppermint shared the story of a transphobic experience she endured while waiting in a Moscow airport for a connecting flight. And it's a story that everyone should hear. Speaking to the rest of her fellow contestants, the transgender drag superstar opened up about the heart-wrenching incident, which she said happened eight months ago. Overall, Peppermint's Russian airport story from RuPaul's Drag Race serves as a humbling reminder on the importance of continuing to fight for transgender rights — all over the world.
"I got stuck in Moscow. I was presenting female, and my ID doesn't match. And I was in [a] Moscow airport for a connection, waiting about 30 minutes. And so we land, and we're supposed to go to the little transfer desk or whatever, and the woman she didn't speak any English. And she just kept looking at my ID, and looking at me, and it was clear that she was disagreeing with the fact that my ID looked male, and I looked female."
"So, she detained me and I was terrified," the contestant continued. "To the point where I had to snatch my own wig off my head in the line with all of these people, just to prove to her that I'm... this is me and please let me through. It was so humiliating ... I just have to keep in mind that it doesn't take away my womanhood."
You can watch Peppermint's share her story below:
Adding to Peppermint's statements, Sasha Velour said, "There's a lot of gender fear in Russia." Though homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993, according to CNN, Russia does still have a number of laws and legislation (such as the Russian "gay propaganda" law from 2013), which actively restrict LGBT people's behavior. A rising conservative attitude in the country has also reportedly led to a rise in LGBT Russian citizens feeling unsafe, according to Politico.
In the episode, Sasha provided her own powerful account of what it was like living in Russia, explaining,
"When I was living in Russia I had to disguise myself. I couldn't be Sasha Velour. I had to think carefully about clothes I was wearing, how I moved my body. Queer people in Russia are living in an oppressive system. "
As you may recall, Peppermint told her co-stars that she is openly transgender earlier in the season, and discussed the challenges she faced for acceptance, particularly within the drag scene. The U.S may be a little more outwardly accepting of the LGBT community than Russia, but hearing Peppermint's ordeal still provides a chilling reminder that the fight for LGBT rights and equality is far from over.