RuPaul doesn’t live as a trans person, so quit asking him to comment on TG issues.

RuPaul is a gay man, not transgender - and not a spokesperson for trans people.

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — RuPaul, of course, is a gay man who entertains people in drag. He does not live the life of a trans person. Indeed, performing in drag has much in common with trans people as does drag racing an AA/Funny Car down a NHRA dragstrip. In other words, RuPaul doesn’t know what its like to be transgender.

Yes, he does get national attention because of his pretend woman performances, of which he likely makes a lot of money. But neither of these things make him a more qualified spokesperson than an actual trans woman or trans man struggling through the steps towards transition and beyond, both financially and emotionally — these are the people to ask. The more of them you ask, the better the picture.

While its true that people within the trans community are not all on the same page — heck not everybody is agreeing on trans definitions, but if one is confused, asking someone living outside the community to explain it all is akin to throwing a pail of gasoline on a fire.

Yes, RuPaul is allowed his opinion, but let’s not ask him for it anymore because he isn’t a true representative of the trans community.

———-

Some people have pointed out to me that Drag Queens and Kings are considered under the trans umbrella. This, of course, if widely accepted, opens the door slightly for them to speak on trans matters.

Other posts on this topic:

Monica Roberts: http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-repeat-gay-media-rupaul-is-not-trans.html

Lez Get Real: http://lezgetreal.com/2012/01/rupaul-shows-disconnect-with-trans-issues-identity-and-insults/

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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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45 replies

  1. Some are saying Drag Queens and Kings are considered under the trans umbrella. Comments?

  2. I hear & see them included under the umbrella all the time though I have know idea why, I’m guessing it’s purely because they dress as the opposite sex to entertain & somehow that alone equates to being trans to some people.
    I’m extremely curious as to who it was that actually made up this “umbrella” & decided who it covers? Anyone wanna educate me?

    • short answer? Not transgender persons. It seems almost mocking in a way. Trans persons can be Drag Queens or Drag Kings. But at the end of the Day, it really seems like a way saying Trans persons are “just playing dress up.” Or something like that.

  3. Rupaul is transgender, he cannot do drag shows and not be transgender, that is like saying a pro basketball player is a basketball player, but not an athlete… You cannot be one with out the other.

    Drag queens/kings are in the transgender segment of the community, he has to know this, if not then he is a complete moron, which from what I have seen, he is…

    To say he is not transgender is like saying he is human without saying what race he is.. A bird is a bird, but also a member of a class of bird.. A bird is not just a bird, it is also a dove, hawk etc…. The hawk is a bird…

    Rupaul is a drag artist=transgender. Or has the definition changed whilst I was having dinner??

    • You are very wrong Justine-Paula. You are referring to him as a male in which that means he is a man and he sees himself as a man. He is a performer and not interested in being called by female pronouns. Drag does not equal trans, thank you for your opinion but me being a trans person would know that.

      • I dont give a toss what Rupaul thinks, he is a total moron if he thinks he is not transgender…, Parker you are an idiot if you think he is not transgender..

        You cannot be a drag artist and not be transgender.. what the hell are you smoking.. it is crappy stuff, take it back and maybe smoke some uses socks…

        Rupaul can scream, publish a billion books.. go on OWN.. CNN CNBC.. SNL.. HE IS TRANSGENDER!!!! If he thinks he is not he is really meant to be in a psych ward.. Maybe share a ward with Parker…

        • First off!

          It seems as you respond well to comparisons, thus I will give you some.

          Angelina Jolie played a lesbian coke head in the movie “GIA”. Is she a lesbian coke head? Al Pacino played a cocaine drug lord in a movie. Is he a drug lord?

          NO THEY ARE ACTORS!!!

          your argument screams IGNORANCE. Are you really that ignorant that you can’t tell the difference between an actor/entertainer/performer and someone who does something every day!

          there are real cocain drug lords, but Al pacino isn’t one. He is a man that played a drug lord in a movie. That’s it…that’s all!

          was he convincing? YES! That’s why he’s compensated so well.

          There are real people that believe they were born in the wrong body thus the TRANscend (go beyond the limits of) their assigned genders in order to express their TRUE natures DAILY. They do this every day because they feel this way deep inside their mind, body and soul.

          whereas there are actors that entertain people and RuPaul is one of those entertainers that has found a niche & shtick that works!

          shtick: a repetitious performance or routine

          Drag is an act for RuPaul. When he’s not in front of the camera he dresses in suits. He identifies as a man and has no desire to live his life as a woman. Although he doesn’t mind being called by feminine pronouns, because he doesn’t take things as serious as most.

          IGNORANCE ISN’T BLISS! EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!

          • Very well said I have done drag, I am a drag nun as a sister of perpetual indulgence… I am not trans gender! I have friends who are, I support and care for the TG community but I would never claim to be a TG person

          • Most transgenders have some type of gender issue. Most enjoy dressing in clothing usually worn by people who possess the opposite genitalia.

            The LGBT community accepts drag queens and drag kings as being “transgender”, if this type of performance expresses some type of socially repressed feeling of the opposite sex.

            OTOH, if you’re just a person (gay or straight) who makes a living by crossdressing, then you are NOT transgender. Gay men who dress up as women solely for the purpose of attracting men who are willing to pay for sexual favors, are NOT transgender. Neither are actors…

            I’ve been observing Rupaul for a very long time now. Knowingly or not, I really do believe that Rupaul actually expresses a part of herself while in drag. To this extent, I think she’s transgender.

            I also think that Rupaul is either in a state of denial or perhaps playing an angle, so as to become more socially palatable to folks in show business who secretly disapprove of transgenders.

        • The *bleep – censor* I can’t. ‘If …and that’s a big if’ I wanted to be a drag king, I could totally do it and still like men and NOT want to have a sex-change. You are just adding to the problem by telling me what you think I am when I will not now or ever accept your narrow definition of what I am and where I belong in the community. I belong where I say I do. End of story. …

    • calling me an idiot is really mature for your age missy.

    • Drag queens and kings are NOT considered transgender. He doesn’t identify a woman, he was born as a man. That makes him cisgender. Not the way he dresses. How odd. I don’t think you understand what transgender means.

  4. The difference with RuPaul is that he has unequivocally stated he ‘isn’t trans, he is a gay man,

    • Like a hawk can deny he is not a bird!!! If you cross-dress for entertainment as a drag queen, you are transgender.

      Either he stops the drag shows, and just lives as an openly gay man, and stops being transgender, or he carries on with the drag shows and accepts he is transgender..

      if anyone tries to say he is not transgender, is a moron!!

      • [deleted by moderator] The word you are searching for is transvestite. Drag queens are cross dressers. The prefix “trans” is NOT SINGULARLY OWNED by the TG community.

  5. Justine-Paula Robillard: hang it up. You cannot make RuPaul transgender–only he can identify that way. And he chooses not to. He can qualify under the umbrella as Gay, but not as Trans because HE ISN’T TRANS. Get over it already.

  6. Ru Paul is an actor, Ru Paul is even a stage name & he play’s the roll of a female that’s how he makes his living, the fact that he’s gay doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Dustin Hoffman (an actor) played a female, he got paid to do it just like Ru Paul, both are men playing a part for money & when they aren’t preforming they both live their lives as MEN. should Dustin Hoffman now become a spokesman for the trans community? Does that make Dustin Hoffman transgender? You can bet your life if Ru Paul wasn’t being paid to dress up as a woman he’d be doing something else.
    OH Yeah & being gay gets you in the LGBQI acronym, not under the transgender umbrella

  7. That was LGBTQI & whatever other letter I may have left out of the acronym before I hear it for that…..

  8. first off –whats with the attacks on ru paul about just doing drag for money? wtf? that’s messed up. 1) how would you even know? and 2) thats neither here nor there in a conversation about ru puals ability to speak on behalf of trans folks.

    it depends how you define transgender. under my widest umbrella understanding, it would refer to anyone who is gender noncomforming in any way, so this would include drag queens, kings, transvestites, and gender-fuckers of all sorts.

    you could also define transgender a bit more narrowly — to mean specifically related to gender identity: anyone who identifies other than a gender they were assigned at birth. this would include trans men and women, genderqueer people, and all other non binary gender identities. it would also exclude drag artists who are cis and don’t consider their drag performance to alter their internal gender identity. (or course, i know some drag performers for whom drag is very much intertwined with their own gender identity, so even that can be sticky…i’ve also met folks who do drag who identify as straight…)

    anyway, with regard to the first, wider definition: though these groups may not live full time as gender nonconformers, its safe to say that many share the experience of violating gender norms in a heternormative and ciscentric society–at least some of the time, and in some of ways trans people (as defined more narrowly below) do.

    however, the experience of living your life as a gender you were not assigned – out or not, binary or not, visibly or not — is still not the same as being a cis gay man who is a drag artist. so using that latter definition of transgender then– people who identify as a gender they were not assigned at birth — ru paul would not be considered transgender and he should not speak/be asked to speak on behalf of trans folks.

  9. With this issue I both agree and disagree. I HATE that the media takes people that are gender variant for performance reasons only and makes them out to be “brave trans activists.” I see this as akin to asking Robert Downy Jr or any other actor that has performed in black face what it is like to be black. Also since more often than not drag is over the top campy their flashy presence causes the lazy media/reporters to ignore those who truly are working activists who look like the average girl or guy.

    However, Drag shows are fun entertainment, for some. And to ignore the fact that drag is a huge avenue for some transsexuals to transition that otherwise might not be able to afford to is to ignore a large population of transsexual women. I see it as similar to the women that uses topless or nude dancing to get through law school. That dancer is no less a lawyer at the end of her education. The problem is other lawyers if they found out how she got that education might think poorly of her, and it is similar in the TS community with post-transition former drag performers.

    Also the problem lies in who do we remember on November 20. Drag performers make up that list quite often. I am not saying they do not deserve being remembered, I am just saying that being a drag performer is going against the gender binary ideas that our society prescribes to, and comes with societal risk.
    Yet they are not living 24/7 so they do not have the perspective we would hope would represent the TS community, as they still live most of their lives well within cis-gender privilege.

    • eastownlewis raises very valid points, that some people have to use less than tasteful methods to pay for education is a valid point, or people using cross-dressing in order to pay for food/rent.

      I will say that there is indeed a place for drag artists, they do provide entertainment, and there is nothing wrong with this, in fact I have enjoyed movies such as too wong fo, and Pricilla Queen of the Desert… They are funny movies, and they are not mocking females, being over the top “camp” we can see the humour.

      Drag artists, should be included in the transgender umbrella, if it is not already, I take the position that it is already there, and the reason is that they need protection from the hostile unfriendly segment of the citizens that feel that this is a bad thing.. The transphobes that attack people that are not living a binary life.

      If you spend 1 second or 100 years as a member of another gender you are transgender, the duration is irrelevant, what is important is the intent.. Any display of cross gender living is transgender. Period.

  10. RuPaul does not do any “cross gender living”.. The ONLY time that act is seen is when it’s for money, on a stage in front of cameras. This is the REAL BIG PROBLEM with the “transgender umbrella”.. it’s too wide and includes too many cis-gender straight or gay people who just happen to play dress up as a PROFESSION or FETISH.

    If I’m a welder and wear a boiler suit at work does that make me a man? Just because RuPaul as a MAN wears womens clothes at work that doesn’t make him a woman, or transgender or anything else except a performer playing a part in a stage production. I guess a lot of people in the “transgender” community are too thick to see the difference. I guess they think the actor who plays Wolverine in the X-Men is really actually a super hero who shape shifts and not just an actor wearing makeup and additions to make a living by pretending.. RuPaul has been very clear that he is a GAY MAN.. so he should shut the hell up about things he is not qualified to speak about.

    Paula – transsexual woman and seperatist.

  11. Before such language was even available, alot of transgender people accessed drag spaces because they were safe areas where they could express their gender. Plus, some drag queens even today identify as transgender. I even know one that is on hrt.
    Rupaul may be a gay cis man but anyone has the right to comment on transgender issues, even if it’s problematic. As a trans woman myself, i don’t see why not. Ofcourse we all have our own perspectives, but that doesn’t mean rupaul shouldn’t get to have an opinion without everyone taking such an issue. He’s a G in LGBTQ..e and i’d like to always hear his opinion or anyone’s opinion that’s in the spotlight.
    Plus who gets to be a “true representative” of the trans community anyway? Everyone’s experience is unique. Even some trans people say things that are problematic.

  12. I find it scary how trans-separatist and womyn-separatist sound so alike. Inclusions and rights should be based on a matter of principle, not condition. While RuPaul may not consider himself transgender, many, many drag queens/kings, too. And the arguments made against drag queens/kings can be applied to a number of people, including crossdressers, gender queers, or anyone going against the gender binary.

    I wonder how much language plays a factor into all these arguments. It seems that english is not adequate to hand non-formal gender descriptors. And even within our own community, we have not found a vernacular that fits for all of us. Or even some of us.

    But maybe it doesn’t have to be that complicated. I am a woman who is transsexual. I have a birth defect, a fact that is supported by dozens of medical agencies in USA, and abroad. Now, the reason the term transgender is used, of course, is to easily sum up any person who may not fall into the norms of what society expects from women and men. I am very different from a crossdresser, or a drag king, and neither of use can accurately talk about vicissitudes of our individual lives. But we are all united in how cis-gender society tends to few us.

    Those who will hate us, will hate us no matter what the reason. It doesn’t matter if it’s a birth defect, or if you do it because it makes you feel confident and sexy, or if you do it as a living, or to artistically express yourself on stage. Hate is irrational and all-inclusive, and it refuses to see the subtleties of what it hates.

    So, while I agree that RuPual can’t speak about my existence accurate as another woman who is transsexual, I don’t think his knowledge should be disregarded completely. What we need then, is more visibility, not just from high profile drag queens, but from every day women…who just happen to have a trans past. If we want to world to stop fearing us, hating us, killing us, then we have to speak up. And we have to be more adult about it than them. We have to take the moral high ground, not because it’s fair(it’s not). but because that’s how the world works. We have to put a human face behind the terms that describe us, not only for transsexual women, but for anyone else in the transgender umbrella. Education is the key to avoid situations like one the article described, and education for us, starts with visibility and outreach.

    I await to be flamed…

    • yes I have an Anon profile to and I’m T so really you’re just a dark crawler. There is no legitimacy to you’re comments. It would be to easy to put my ANON face on in here and set you straight. Just sayen.

      “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

      anyone can be ANON.

  13. The truth is.. Rupaul is not Transgender becaus RUPAUL does not identify as a female outside of Drag. Their drag persona is irrelevant. What makes Trans people Trans are their regular lives. What do they feel like when their lying on the couch. Rupaul identifies as a Man while others do not identify the same way. For example, Erica Andrews of Texas, a famed Transexual entertainer.. Rupaul is a SUPERSTAR male drag entertainer…NOT TRANS. Drag Queens are Gay Men who dress up as Females while Trans Entertainers are Transgendered Individuals who Perform in a Drag Persona.

  14. Thanks for the comments everyone . . . I’ve learned a few things.

    I will now say that legally, we need to consider RuPaul trans because this way he’s protected against discrimination and hate crimes — and especially, we don’t want people to have to do a pants check to see if one is a member of the trans protected class, that said, RuPaul barely has his foot in the trans door.

    • Hold up just a second– I won’t comment on RuPaul’s disputed trans status, but if you think that trans people are a protected class, you’re sorely mistaken. We can be fired and denied housing in the US for no other reason than being transgender. We are *not* specifically protected against discrimination and hate crimes; ‘trans panic’ is still being used in courts as a defense in murder trials where a trans person has been killed just for being trans.

      Lexie, please don’t think I’m angry at you for not knowing all that; I imagine it’s easy to assume that such an obviously targeted group as the trans community would have legal protection. But we don’t. And it’s important that people realize it. Laws that protect the gay and lesbian community are not, in general, written to cover us as well. There are changes that need to be made, and we don’t stand a chance if everyone simply assumes we already have legal protection.

      • Thanks for you comments and yes, I am completely aware that trans people are too often not included in protected class status. I was just making a point about RuPaul. Trans people have a long way to go before this occurs.

  15. We are being a bit limited here – nobody heard of straight drag queens or kings for that matter.

    Those that believe the drag entertainment world is a safe haven for trans are deluded too.

    People have a right to identify for themsleves and if Ru Paul does not identify as trans then the media should not ask him about trans issues as he has no life experience to base his answers on.

  16. I think it doesn´t make sense to speak about “transgender”.
    If you pack GLBT, hermaphrodites and wrong assigned in one word or “community” its useless cuz these people and their typical problems and experiences are yet so different that you can closely add hetero and right assigned people and speak of “human beeings” instead. I think Ru Paul is a dragqueen and a homosexual so Ru Paul can tell something about beeing a drag queen and beeing a homo but there´s no difference about asking a homo who f.e. isn´t bisexual about bi-issues as asking a hetero, similar it´s about a so called “trans” about beeing a hermaphrodite as asking a so called “cis”. And I don´t understand why people like to build a big soup-group like “trans*” or “transgender” including lots of diffent people, genders/sexes and issues which don´t have any relationship. It´s yet useless to think a queer person could know or understand anything more about how it is to be a straight man born with a vagina, my experience says they don´t.

  17. As one of the original Trans-Inclusionists, I define transgender thusly:

    Anyone who has, had or will have a non-conforming Gender Expression

    -AND-

    Involuntary categorization by a society who frequently sees anyone with a non-conforming Gender Expression as queers, faggots, sissies, men-in-dresses, dykes, or perverts.

    This makes Drag a part of Transgender. (It also makes non-conforming Sexual Orientation part of Transgender, too.)

    I am Transgender because in the mind of society I have a non-conforming Gender Expression and because I agree with the goals and objectives of the Transgender community. Or, if you like, the Transgender alliance.

    I am also Transsexual and transitioned about 20 years ago. Back in early 1990′s, I was proudly involved in the creation of the modern Transgender community as well as the concept of an alliance we now call LGBT.

    IMHO, Transgender is comprised of multiple communities including Transsexuals, Crossdressors, Drag, Butch, etc… partially because society sees us that way for decades and partially because we have a common interest in promoting equality and stopping discrimination, harassment and violence of people with non-conforming gender expressions (in society’s eyes).

    Nobody requires anyone to identify as Transgender, but despite all her loud protestations, society will continue to lump us all into one group and at this moment, that group is called Transgender and is a much better name than Sissy or Faggot.

  18. As an ignorant straight person, I think it’s because the ‘T’ in the ‘LGBT’ was supposed to stand for ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’. straight people, who don’t have relatives or friends that are trans, often do have a great lack of understanding and tend to confuse the two.

    I found this post by a tgirl on yahoo answers explaining the difference:

    ‘Transgender’ describes a person, male or female, who dresses, behaves or presents themselves in a way that is different from their gender norm. Transgender includes transvestites/crossdressers, Drag Queens/Kings, androgynes and genderqueers. It does NOT include transsexual people.

    ‘Transsexual’ describes a person, male or female, born with a congenital neurological intersex condition (Benjamin’s syndrome). Although transsexualism almost always requires some form of medical intervention up to and including genital surgery, it is not defined by, nor restricted to, that treatment.

    • Hi Gaarajunkie, I am a transwoman, that is male to female transsexual pre-op. The term transgender should be viewed as the same way we use the word house. A house as many rooms such as the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, study, den, and so the word transgender covers many aspects, from transvestitic fetishism, on one end to pre/post op transsexuals.

      In fact I was going to comment on my own blog on this topic.. The use of the term sex as a description is invalid.. Sex is a dual function word, ie, both a verb and a noun, where as gender is just a noun. Gender is how we as the individual perceive ourselves.. I never bought that the doctor that said male on the moment of my birth was right.. I knew from early I was female with a birth defect, my vagina was in the wrong place…

      Rupaul is a well known female impersonator, and thus is by default transgender, he may or may not like this, he is transgender. In the same way I am by default transgender, but prefer the term trans, as it covers every aspect of the spectrum, and prevents confusion..

      The LGB refer to sexual preference in the verbal aspect of sex.. The problem is the T is not a sexual prefernce in the verbal aspect of sex…

      If you are T, ie transgender or transsexual, you can be straight, or gay or neither or both… The history of transrights meant that we had to align with the LGB when in all fairness we actually have very little to do with the LGB!!

      I am a transwoman, and I am L, lesbian… I am 1st trans, then lesbian, in that order.. My gender identity was formed before my preferred sexual partner identity was formed much later…

      Your description of intersex condition is not correct, intersex is of gender undefined..In fact the neurological aspects of sex/gender cannot be determined until much later in life.

      The role of the brain sex vs the body sex, is yet to be fully defined, the modern idea of thinking is the role of androgens in the development of the fetus, that is, how much of the mother’s provided testosterone is used by the fetus to develop into male. This would be androgen insensitivity, as it is well known that 2 periods during a male fetus development in the womb, that testosterone is used, 1st period to turn the vagina into penis and testes, the 2nd period is much later, almost at full term, to switch the female brain over onto the male.. If the fetus is insensitive to androgen, then in many cases, and I suspect in my case, my body changed to a penis/testes and my brain remained female…That I say is not 100% confirmed, it is just a working theory that seems to answer questions…

      Hugs
      Justine

Trackbacks

  1. RuPaul and his use of the word “Tranny” « Women Born Transsexual
  2. The Ills of the word “Tranny” | Spectra Voice
  3. Verdict on RuPaul: Trans? Yes. Trans Role Model? No. « LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS

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