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RuPaul finally changes iconic Drag Race catchphrase to be more inclusive of trans and non-binary queens

Nick Duffy December 29, 2020
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RuPaul has changed an iconic Drag Race catchphrase

RuPaul. (Netflix)

RuPaul has made an important change to an iconic Drag Race catchphrase to be more inclusive of trans and non-binary contestants.

Across 12 seasons and countless spin-offs, nearly every episode of the reality TV show has featured the line: “Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best woman win.”

However a preview of the show’s 13th season, which officially launches on 1 January, revealed that the line has been switched up.

In its place, RuPaul opts for the more inclusive: “Racers, start your engines, and may the best drag queen win!”

Drag Race fans are thrilled with more inclusive new catch phrase

The more inclusive language recognises the fact that not every contestant on the show is a cisgender man, and not all of their drag personas are specifically women – with a number of trans and non-binary Drag Race alum, and plenty more who use drag to explore gender-fluidity.

RuPaul previously amended the catchphrase to “ladies and gentlemen, start your engines” on spin-off series All Stars 4 for episodes featuring returning queen Gia Gunn, who had come out as a trans woman after her original Drag Race run.

This time around, contestants and fans are hoping the more inclusive language sticks, after years of questions over the status of trans and non-binary contestants on the series.

One fan wrote: “It’s about time! Season 13 really is changing the game.”

Noting the show’s slowness to adapt, another added: “This is so important! I’m so glad RuPaul is finally taking accountability and being responsible for his queer audience.”

Gottmik RuPaul Drag Race
Gottmik will be the first competing trans man on RuPaul’s Drag Race. (VH1)

Season 13 features the first trans man to appear on the show, Gottmik, while the upcoming second season of Drag Race UK features two non-binary queens.

RuPaul has previously spoken out about changes to show’s catchphrases

It’s not the first time Drag Race has changed a long-running line. The show axed RuPaul catchphrase “you’ve got she-mail” in 2015 after complaints it was transphobic, replacing it with the oblique “she done already done had herses”.

On that occasion, RuPaul spoke out against the change, venting: “I would not have changed it, but that’s [the producers’] choice. Our intention was always coming from a place of love. On paper, you cannot read intention, so it was actually hurtful.”

A year before, producers banned the use of the transphobic slur “t****y” on the show, also prompting anger from RuPaul – who suggested judges use “granny” in its place “because we can’t say it with a ‘T’ anymore”.

Mercifully, RuPaul is yet to comment publicly on the latest change. Growth?

Related topics: Drag Race, rupaul, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race season 13, trans drag queens

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