What RuPaul Really Thinks About Groundbreaking ‘Drag Race’ Season 13 Contestant Gottmik
Celebrity makeup artist Gottmik is making history on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul has something to say about it. For the first time in a while, the iconic drag entertainer and host/judge of his long-running reality competition series has made a statement on transgender performers being on the show.
Gottmik is the first transgender man to compete on ‘Drag Race’
Gottmik is the first transgender man to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Before this, Peppermint was the first out transgender person to compete on an American series in the franchise when she was the runner-up on season 9. Although several transgender queens have been in the franchise, Peppermint was the first to be openly transgender prior to her season’s airing.
Monica Beverly Hillz is long considered to be the very first transgender contestant to announce they were transgender while competing on the show.
Aside from this, Gia Gunn competed on season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars as a transgender woman. Jiggly Caliente and Sonique (who came out publicly during the reunion episode for season 2) will also get added to this tally when they appear on the upcoming fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
On appearing in season 13, Gottmik told Entertainment Weekly, “The main thing I want to make so clear is that the gender spectrum is really crazy, and I feel like me doing feminine drag is confusing to a lot of people. I want to show everyone that no matter what you transition to, boy or girl, there’s a whole gender spectrum in between that you can play with and have fun with, and it doesn’t mean that your identity is any less valid.”
RuPaul is changing his idea of drag to ‘keep up with the kids’
RuPaul was a recent guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and said that he learned from 13 seasons of the show to “keep an open mind.”
“I walked into this thing with an idea of what drag is and the kids have a different idea. They keep changing it,” he said. “This season we have a trans man [Gottmik] who is on our show who is competing with the other drag queens and this man is fantastic. Fantastic! So, I keep moving with what the kids are doing.”
“I couldn’t be happier for RuPaul allowing me to come on this show and show that drag is literally for everyone,” Gottmik said in an interview with TheWrap. “All you have to is audition and trust your drag. [RuPaul] knows drag is drag. You just have to trust yourself and kill it,” he said.
This is a sharp contrast to RuPaul’s prior comments about transgender contestants on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’
In 2018, he said that he would “probably not” allow a transgender drag queen to perform on the show, or at least transgender drag queens who have transitioned. “Drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it, because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture,” he said at the time.
However, RuPaul later came out and said that his comments were taken out of context. “There seems to be this obsession with trying to create this ‘us against them’ storyline,” he said. “We share a history. The two worlds [of drag and trans people] intersect, but also maintain their own unique qualities… One of our contestants, Monica Beverly Hillz, said it best when she said, ‘Drag is what I do, trans is who I am.'”
RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1, followed by its companion show, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked.