Monica Beverly Hillz, a trans woman and former contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, has joined the growing chorus of criticism of the show’s use of transphobic slurs.
In a statement obtained by The Huffington Post, Hillz expressed disappointment that the Logo reality television program, in which drag performers compete for the title of "America’s next drag superstar," continues to use terms that many members of the transgender community consider demeaning, including “she-male,” “ladyboy,” and “tranny."
The cast member of Drag Race season 5 spoke out after Logo aired a controversial episode in which contestants of season 6 had to guess if a person was “Female or Shemale” based upon close-up photographs of body parts. Here is her response:
After my experience of being on the show, I would say that, to me, the use of the words “she-male,” “ladyboy” and “tranny” are not cute at all.
I have fought, and still am fighting, for respect from society -- to be accepted as a woman and not referred to as a “tranny” or “she-male.”
People don't understand the daily struggle it is to be a transgender woman. Some days are great and some days I can't be around anyone because I have so much anxiety, so much on my mind and just feel alone in this world.
After being on TV and coming out, it is very difficult to live a normal life. So when you see a show that you look up to and have been a part of, it kind of sucks hearing them use those words.
I will say that RuPaul and the entire cast and production team were amazing. To this day they still check up on me, so for that I am forever grateful.
However, maybe some things need to be changed about the show, because it's not just a drag show anymore. We have beautiful transgender cast mates paving the way for all transgender showgirls.
Carmen Carmen, a fellow trans alums of Drag Race, also condemned the Logo show for its use of the word “shemale” Tuesday in a Facebook post.
"'Shemale' is an incredibly offensive term, and this whole business about if you can tell whether a woman is biological or not is getting kind of old," Carrera said. "We live in a new world where understanding and acceptance are on the rise. Drag Race should be a little smarter about the terms they use and comprehend the fight for respect trans people are facing every minute of today. They should use their platform to educate their viewers truthfully on all facets of drag performance art."
Last week Drag Race producers and Logo TV released statements saying they've been "newly sensitized" to the issue of transphobic slurs being used on the show. However, when Tony Merevick of BuzzFeed reached out to Logo executives, they would not commit to abolishing transphobic slurs, and last night's episode ran as planned, with the "You've Got She-Mail" segment intact, incorporating a long-running wordplay on the slur used to deliver messages to participants.