Nobody expects CBS Sunday Morning, the 90-minute news program that your grandparents probably watch, to be on the cutting edge of the gender revolution. But it’s still a tad surprising that during a segment on RuPaul that aired on Sunday, Drag Race is described as a competition with “all men.”
“Contestants — yes, they’re all men — compete for prizes and the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar,” the narrator says.
This is an objectively false statement.
Over its nine-season history Drag Race has featured many trans queens, most notably season 9 finalist Peppermint, who was open about how she identifies during filming.
The CBS misgendering, while not an Earth-shattering offense, comes at an interesting moment, one week after RuPaul sparked heated debate about drag and gender.
It’s a truly incredible thing that Drag Race and RuPaul are reaching the CBS Sunday Morning crowd in such a positive light, but the opportunity to expand minds in new and challenging ways doesn’t stop when you reach the mainstream.
Early in the segment, the program gives this herstory of drag:
“Since the ancient Greeks, men have been dressing in women’s clothing on stage. Men portrayed women in the plays of William Shakespeare, and many of us grew up watching Flip Wilson and Milton Beryle on TV, or Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon in the movie Some Like It Hot…
Drag — wearing clothing of the opposite sex — has come a long way.”
Drag helps to break down the binary by playing with our learned expectations of gender, not reinforce it by insisting the person behind the makeup is the “opposite sex.”
Today, some female-identifying drag queens are on the front lines of melting our minds in the best possible ways.
Let’s keep listening, learning and gagging.