It's official: RuPaul's Drag Race will no longer use the word "she-male" – in pun form or otherwise. After weeks of controversy, the Logo reality show has responded to complaints of transphobia by pulling an offensive episode and scrapping the long-running segment "You've Got She-Mail" from all future broadcasts. But some fans and ex-contestants aren't too happy about the move.
Drag Race was a first in every sense of the word: the first TV show to celebrate drag queens, the first major reality show to feature an all-LGBT cast, and the TV show that resurrected RuPaul's career. But it also created a huge outcry when a recent episode featured a segment called "Female or She-Male", in which contestants were shown pictures of women and invited to guess if they were "a biological woman or a psychological woman" (as RuPaul put it).
Logo has since pulled the episode from air and issued this statement: "We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We at the network sincerely apologize." They've also scrapped the segment "You've Got She-Mail", in which contestants are sent mail from RuPaul.
"While some drag queens may use the term to refer to themselves, 'she-male' is too often used by others as an offensive term to denigrate and hypersexualize transgender women," a representative of LGBT organisation GLAAD told the Advocate. According to a media guide issued by the rights group, the term "she-male" is defamatory and dehumanising and should never be used.
Some Drag Race queens aren't too pleased with this. “This whole thing has gotten way out of control,” said Season 4 favourite Latrice Royale. “Everybody is so super sensitive these days.”
But it's worth noting that Carmen Carrera, who recently got a shoutout from Naomi Campbell, is pretty happy about the entire thing. Carrera was one of the only two trans contestants to ever appear on the show, and has been vocal about her anger over the use of the word "she-male". She took to her Facebook page to slam any criticism of Logo's move.
"Once again, people are mad at something that doesn’t concern them," she writes. "Some words do hurt other people... I said that Drag Race should be more conscious of the words they use and shouldn’t further objectify transwoman with a game that obviously hurt."
Long story short: in the same way gay people wouldn't want straights to decide what words are offensive; if you aren't trans, maybe you don't get a say over what terms are hurtful and what terms aren't. What do you think?
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