The Drag Race host used the derogatory phrase "she-male."
RuPaul made a faux pas on his show RuPaul's Drag Race this week that has left many fans angered. Monday night's episode featured a contest some on Twitter are calling transphobic. The game, "Female or She-male," presented contestants in a quest to determine whether they were being shown a picture of — as RuPaul phrased it — "a biological woman or a psychological woman."
The drag icon also used high-pitched and low-pitched voices to differentiate between the female and transgender contestants.
"C'mon RuPaul, 'she-male' is not a word you should be using. Do not perpetuate that this is an ok word when it's so hurtful to trans women," said one Twitter fan, while another added, "RuPaul's Drag Race had a segment called 'Female or Shemale.' This is not ok at all."
According to the Advocate.com, "Shemale" is a word that historically refers to transgender women, most prominent in pornography. The word originated with transgender porn and doesn't have roots in "drag culture," as some have argued is the case with the word "tranny."
Transgender issues have come to the forefront of mainstream debate as of late, particularly through the efforts of trans activists Laverne Cox, star of Orange Is the New Black, and Janet Mock.
So far, there has been no comment from RuPaul or Drag Race producers on the controversy.
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(Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com)