A RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant has come out as transgender.
Peppermint, a New York-based drag performer, revealed her gender identity during Friday night’s episode. The topic came up after a fellow contestant declared that “gender is over” during a conversation about masculinity and femininity.
“It was actually though my drag that I realized my transness,” said Peppermint, declaring, “I’m trans. I’m a trans woman.”
In an interstitial clip, Peppermint explained why she had been hesitant to discuss her gender identity with her castmates on the reality competition of drag performers, most of whom identify as gay cisgender men.
“There’s a lot of people who think drag queens are not trans and shouldn’t be,” she said. “And there’s a lot of trans people who think that drag queens have no place in the trans community. I wanted to really get to know the girls before I came out to them. I was afraid.”
“It took me a long time to really sort out gender,” she told her castmates about her journey. “And at a really early age, I was able to latch on to drag, and that was how I was able to express my femininity. But I kind of evolved to realize that all the drag things that I wanted to do, it always led back to the realization that I’m a trans woman.”
The other RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants embraced Peppermint with open arms. “That is courageous,” said Cynthia Lee Fontaine. “Yaass, Pepper,” added Aja.
“Peppermint is giving us her true, authentic self,” declared Shea Couleé. “And it’s just wonderful and I love her and I look up to her so much.”
Peppermint was overjoyed by their reaction. “It feels so good to feel fully accepted. I’m so happy right now,” she said.
Peppermint is not the first transgender drag performer to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Monica Beverly Hillz came out as trans on season 5. Carmen Carrera, from season 3, came out after appearing on the reality show and has since become a prominent transgender activist.
Peppermint’s coming-out and her castmate’s declaration that “gender is over” raises the question of whether cisgender women as drag kings may be allowed to compete in future seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race.