RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon has faced a barrage of abuse after being cast in Steven Universe.
The season five winner was set to make their children’s TV debut as villain gem Emerald in Cartoon Network’s animated series, Steven Universe.
Steven Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar, is a coming of age story about a young boy who lives with magical humanoid aliens ‘the crystal gems’.
Each 11-minute episode sees Steven and the gems go on adventures and protect the world from other villainous gems.
Steven’s gem friends are notoriously non-binary and voiced by women with the three lead gems being portrayed by singers Estelle, Deedee Magno and actor Michaela Dietz.
The decision to take on Jinkx Monsoon as the voice of a villainous gem was announced in July and drew criticism from fans of the show because of their gender identity.
Despite Jinkx identifying as non-binary, some fans of the show took to Twitter to express their disappointment that the creators would choose a male-bodied individual to voice a character typically voiced by a woman.
One ‘fan’ was particularly vicious towards Jinkx and went as far to write on their Facebook wall: “your little wimp voice with minuscule and mediocre talent belongs in the trash can. Your charisma is cheap and knock off. Get off social media and the drag world. You’re a phony wannabe performer who got lucky and whose stage needs to be exterminated”.
Jinkx has been a massive fan of Steven Universe since it’s beginning, and in 2015 even made a video addressed to Rebecca Sugar, pleading with her to consider them for a gem role.
Cartoonist Hamish Steele, who previously worked on the show, came to Jinkx’s rescue when he took to Twitter to shut down the critics.
He wrote: “The Gems are meant to be non-binary – and we actually finally have a non-binary person voicing one and yall get mad. :/”.
Steven Universe is notorious for its themes of love and acceptance in all forms.
Its strong LGBT themes have earnt the show the title of “one of the most unabashedly queer shows on TV”.
Rebecca Sugar has said that these themes are prominent not to make a point, but to help children understand themselves and develop their own identities.
Despite the show following themes of love and acceptance, the fans did not reciprocate those emotions towards Jinkx, who prefers to be known by the pronouns they/them.
In a series of tweets, they addressed the harsh words of the fandom in an attempt to put the hate to rest: “Because this apparently needs to be repeated… I am male-bodied, I prefer to identify as non-gendered/non-binary. I prefer They/Them.”
Luckily Jinkx has had the backing of many fans, and after their debut episode aired on January 5 they received plenty of praise and encouragement for their voiceover work.
And it seems like the hateful fans aren’t getting Jinkx down as they officially tweeted about their role, and even expressed a want for follow up work from Cartoon Network.
We’ll be seeing a lot more of Jinkx Monsoon as their new album ‘The Ginger Snapped” is set to be released on January 12, and will no doubt be followed by a tour.
Congratulations on your long-anticipated role, Jinkx.