Carmen Carrera Posts Scathing Takedown of 'RuPaul's Drag Race's' "Shemale" Slur

As the controversy against RuPaul's Drag Race's arguably transphobic vocabulary continues to grow, one of its most famous former contestants Carmen Carrera has come down decidedly against the language.

In a scathing Facebook post, the actress and trans activist harshly criticized the show for use of the word "shemale" in particular.


The terminology sparked intense controversy recently following a segment dubbed "Female or Shemale" two weeks ago. During the mini-competition, contestants were asked to judge whether a photo showed a cisgender woman or a transgender drag queen based off a closely cropped body part. 

Get More: RuPaul's Drag Race Full Episodes, RuPaul, Logo TV

Following the controversy, Drag Race producers issued a semi-apology, which apparently was not enough to pacify Carrera, 28, who shot to fame after appearing in the third season of the reality show.

While Carrera thanked the show for giving the trans community a mainstream space, she also conveyed her frustration with the long-time stereotype of judging a woman's identity based on her external appearance.

"'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," she noted in the post. "We live in a new world where understanding and acceptance are on the rise." 

Another former contestant, Monica Beverly Hillz, expressed similar disatisfaction with how this segment has played out. In an email sent to the Huffington Post, the performer said some people still don't understand "the daily struggle it is to be a transgender woman." 

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."


Image Credit: RuPaul's Drag Race


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Smriti Sinha

Smriti is a multimedia journalist trained at the Columbia School of Journalism. Before moving to New York, she was a sports reporter at The Indian Express in New Delhi. She continues to cover issues in sports, women's and LGBT rights.

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