Drag Race UK‘s Divina De Campo summed up why there’s absolutely no reason not to include AFAB queens in drag.
Over 11 seasons of Drag Race, four All Stars and a single run of Drag Race UK, RuPaul has yet to say “hello, hello, hello” to a single AFAB (assigned female at birth) queen.
The franchise is almost exclusively focused on cis male queens, with host RuPaul having previously been forced to apologise for suggesting trans queens were only welcome if they had not medically transitioned.
In recent series there have been improvements in terms of representation, with trans queens such as Peppermint and Gia Gunn being invited to compete.
But when it comes to AFAB queens (also known as bio queens) and drag kings (women who perform in drag as men), the Drag Race count stands at zero, leaving it lagging behind rival series Dragula.
Speaking on Instagram Live, Divina De Campo shut down any arguments against welcoming AFAB queens, explaining their personal journey with accepting queens who aren’t cis men.
divina said support afab queens pic.twitter.com/aYligmO3gS
— ᵇᵃᵇʸ ᵍʰᵒᵘˡˑ (@honeycnt) November 7, 2019
“At some point [I was] an old stick in the mud,” they said. “But then I thought about it, and I was like well gender is something that we’ve made up, it’s not real, drag is all about gender, so anybody can do drag.
“As soon as you get that in your head you go, actually, why is this even a thing? Why are we making an issue of of this?
“We’re all queens. Your lived experience does affect your art – women have a very different experience to men.
“Even as a weird little queerdo, as a kid, I had very different experiences to girls. But girls have such a f***ing tough time and that imprints onto your art work, that changes how people perceive your work and how you create your work.”
Divina is one of a handful of Drag Race queens to identify as non-binary.
They spoke about their gender and pronouns in an Instagram post shortly before Drag Race UK began.
“Hi I’m Divina,” they wrote. “I’m non-binary. It just means the terms male/female don’t ‘fit’ for me. I’m just a person. You can use he, she, they, them. It doesn’t bother me.
“What you see or think isn’t always the same as how I experience the world. How I present to you doesn’t necessarily reflect my reality.”
Later, in an interview with PinkNews, Divina shut down the oft-cited argument that “they” is a collective noun.
You’re just being an a***hole for the point of being an a***hole.
“The stupid thing is we use ‘they’ all the time as a singular,” they said.
“Look, that’s somebody’s glass, I wonder if they know where it is? Should we try to find them so we can give it them back?
“It’s not difficult, you’re just being an a***hole for the point of being an a***hole.”
They revealed that Drag Race UK will become the first incarnation to discuss non-binary identities in the werk room. These scenes have not yet aired.
“We definitely talk about some of these issues [during the series],” they said.
“We don’t do it like some of the seasons which have been like, ‘Now we’re going to talk about this issue,’ it’s not that. Everything happens so organically on this show, nothing is forced, everything happens as it happens.”
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