If you are a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you will be very aware that quite a lot has come out recently regarding contestants participating in season 12 of the show which began airing just over two weeks ago. The season had previously been billed and expected to be the ‘nice queen’ season and the series of ‘RuPaul’s Best Friend Race’. Well that really went tits up, didn’t it?
Firstly, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from the season with rumours that she allegedly made the final, after statements made by several men saying she sexually harrassed them came to light. Using the fake name of Alison Mossey (apparently a top name in the acting business), Sherry tricked many men (nine at the last count) into believing they were going to land a huge part if they took steroids and were filmed engaging in sexual behavior such as masturbation. As her real name Joey she was encouraging them to trust in the fictious Allison Mossey with the aim being to saisify her own sexual pleasure via using their dreams to make a better life for themselves.
Secondly, an identified man has told how he was sexually assaulted by Brita Filter after a night out. The man was Brita’s drag daughter at the time and much like Sherry Pie’s victims was trying to make a better life for himself. Brita has not been disqualified because Sherry admitted to the claims and Brita has denied the man’s story.
In addition to all of this, contestants Dahlia Sin and Aiden Zhane have been embroiled in controversy following transphobic social media posts they made in the past. Though these situations are obviously very serious, they are obviously not in the same league of terribleness as the two previous situations discussed. However I think it is important to put the spotlight on how wrong and problematic their words were as well. Dahlia has never apologized for her opinions on this matter. However Aiden has apologized and has spoken about how she has changed and grown since that time and for that I commend her. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s something many people never do and I applaud her courage and fairness to do that. While I am the first person who will call out dodgy opinions, I am also the first person who doesn’t believe in holding grudges against people when they truly appear like that is no longer who they are or how they think. If someone is being a better version of themselves than their past self then kudos to them and I wish Aiden all the best and thank her for her kindness to do so and to publicly state that she was wrong and she sees things differently now. I know many people will appreciate that.
But now back to the two situations involving Sherry and Brita. I think the producers of Drag Race firstly were very responsible in their handling of the Sherry Pie situation. She was very promptly disqualified and will not appear at the finale. With the news breaking so late, I have a lot of sympathy for them in the regard of editing because it is difficult to edit a whole season I would imagine which is already in the can. I don’t think it’s going to happen but personally I wouldn’t mind them delaying the season for a bit and editing it. However I won’t hold it against them regardless of what they decide because it must be a nightmare situation for a producer and I would not like to be in their shoes right now. I think (and all of the elimination order is unconfirmed) that Brita did not make the final so there was probably no need to disqualify her. However, I believe she will be appearing at the finale and that’s problematic in and of itself. Even if you were to take the statement as false, it’s still plobematic with that being out there and the possibility that it could be true swimming about.
My stance is with the people who are the victims in these two situations. Before I get into my thoughts on this, I want to give you all a little background on myself and the way I think with these situations as we are dealing with extremely serious issues here. Anyone who knows me knows I do not instantly take that stance. I don’t take a stance instantly with the accused either for that matter. I’m not a person who thinks I’m a terrible person because I don’t instantly take a victim’s allegations at face value and I equally do not say everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of the Me Too movement either. And I acknowledge a million per cent that more often than not most victims from statistics are telling the truth. However I am a writer and I also like to be fair to both sides before I form my opinion (and then it’s very hard to change my mind but that’s another story). So the writer in me done my research on these two cases to the best of my ability because obviously I don’t know the people involved on either side of either of the situations. I have also being a victim of an incident where I was touched in a sexual way and I think it’s important that I speak about that in a future blog because this sort of predatory behavior is rampant in every area of life. But just to be clear here, I have took a stance with people who have been accused of things like this who I didn’t believe did it too so my experience does not cloud my judgment in these issues.
But in these two cases, I believe these men who have come forward. My heart breaks for them that they went through these situations and I admire their courage to speak out with all the fears that must have been attached to doing so. It’s a truly frightening, violating thing to go through in any of it’s many forms and I respect their courage in telling these stories that they probably wish they could just bury deep in the ground and pretend didn’t happen. The fact that they know they will probably have to repeat these stories over and over or be asked to in any case must be incredibly draining. It must feel like partially reliving a trauma that you just wish you could leave behind. Don’t get me wrong, the platform they have to highlight this behavior is great and hopefully it helps many people but you kind of want to talk about very bad memories like this in your life on your own terms and in a way that I would imagine gets a bit took away and that can be scary. You don’t know who to trust. Are they using it for sensation or are they truly interested in highlighting the issue? I hope they have some good people around them.
I have to applaud the support these men have got from so many people. Whether that’s queens who have been on the show previously, the wider queer community or the wider community of people in general. People have been outraged and while that’s to be expected, people have been very vocal in comdemning that this type of behavior is not acceptable. I will say that it could be a bit more vocal about Brita but I appreciate that for a lot of people they might be nervous to say something about that because Brita has denied the allegations and in short, it’s a more frightening situation for many people to comment on because of that regardless of their own personal feelings on it. But to that man, thank you for sharing your story and know that a lot of people including me believe you for what that’s worth.
To make another point, I know a lot of people are worried about how this is going to reflect our queer community to people outside it. And sure a lot of bigoted people will take this as fodder to store away in their press of why it’s wrong to be queer. But the person who touched me inappropriately was not a member of the queer community. My point is not that people outside the community are always but that the actions of particular people in or out of the community do not reflect the majority of people in or out of the community. Most of us humans would find this kind of behavior deplorable and thank god for that.
I would like to say one thing and I want to preface this by saying this excuses nothing in either Sherry or Brita’s situations but be careful because you are still dealing with people. Over this side of the water, we have recently seen presenter Caroline Flack take her own life due to negative press attention and online trolls. Though Caroline’s situation is immensely different from what we are discussing here, the same humanity rules apply. By all means, have your freedom of speech. I am completely in favour of that. But sending hate and death threats to a person is not what I mean when I say that. If you find yourself in a bar and you’re hanging out with either of them and you want to debate it, go right ahead. You’re one person against one person and sure be passionate but don’t be cruel. But the internet is one person against thousands, millions. Think before you type or in particular tag someone with something very vicious because the mind is very fragile and if you are any kind of person you do not want someone’s death on your hands or to tremendously add to making someone have bad mental health issues. Comdemn by all means but be mindful of how you do so. Don’t lose the run of yourself. There is a human at the other end of that communication with insecurities like us all and please don’t forget that. I reiterate that by saying this I don’t condone the behavior. In fact I’m disgusted by it. I’m only saying be careful because even though I deplore their behavior and I don’t like them, I don’t want anything to happen to happen to anyone.
I also want to say that there is queens in this season who are kind, good and this is their big opportunity to show the world their talent. I feel so terrible for them and hope that the events which have happened will not overshadow their moment to the extent that no one will notice the output of wonderfulness they put out there. Let’s put the spotlight on their achievements too and not let this overshadow how brilliant they are. I wish them all the best. It is hard watching certain people in the cast for sure but let that not take away from the amazing queens who are simply trying to get on, spread great messages and entertain us.
I stand with the people who are victims of these situations. I hope that they find some closure and peace even though I know you never find true closure and peace when you have been in a situation like this. As a victim of this sort of thing, I thank you all for speaking out but just as a person in general I thank you all for speaking out. You are all amazing for doing so and even more amazing for doing so because you all probably don’t think you are amazing for doing so. But there is a lot of us out here who are so glad you did because it highlights what a lot of us have went through and have to deal with, forget, achieve and pretend like the thought of that moment or for others moments in time doesn’t affect us when we think about it. For all those who speak out, thank you. For all those who don’t, don’t for one second think I don’t (for what it’s worth) think you are also amazing because you fight through it too and that is amazing whether you ever say it out or not. Situations are different and I’m very well aware of that. But thank you to these men because you are speaking out for a lot of us, making us feel less alone and for what it’s worth I totally believe you and I hope you all get the justice you deserve and you can somehow move on from all of this and be successful and utterly fabulous.