11 Times “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Celebrated The Trans Community

"Drag is what I do. Trans is who I am."

When Peppermint was announced for this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it marked the first time a contestant came onto the show as an out trans woman. In this week’s episode, Peppermint came out to her fellow queens as transgender, opening up a meaningful dialogue about identity, performance and gender.

But Drag Race has embraced the trans community from the very start.

  1. Sonique

    Airport = no sleep

    A post shared by Kylie Sonique Love (@xosonique) on

    This sensational Season 2 queen opened up about transitioning during the reunion special, making Kylie Sonique Love the first trans woman to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

  2. Carmen Carrera

    Like a bunny nom nom nom nom Check my InstaStory for more ✨

    A post shared by Carmen Carrera (@carmen_carrera) on

    Season 3 standout Carmen Carrera has continued to perform since transitioning, adding modeling and trans activism to her resume.

  3. Stacy Layne Matthews

    Stacy Layne Matthews also came out as transgender after her time on Drag Race. The Southern queen finished eighth in the competition, but stayed long enough to make her mark.

  4. Kenya Michaels

    Kenya was given a second chance in Season 4, when Ru brought her back into the competition. But the real gift for this Puerto Rican performer is the freedom to live her truth as an out trans woman.

  5. Jiggly Caliente

    If you're gonna take another bitch wig you betta make sure you look fly. Sharon's wigs look real cute on me lol #jigglycaliente

    A post shared by Jiggly Caliente (@jigglycalienteofficial) on

    After shaking things up on Season 4, this queen from Queens quietly began transitioning in January 2016. While she still performs as Jiggly, we call her Bianca Castro when she’s not on stage.

  6. Monica Beverly Hillz

    My Money Maker!!!!!@nestorsphotography #rupaulsdragrace5 #tranisbeautisbeautiful #monicabeverlyhillz #Dragiswhatidotransiswhoiam

    A post shared by Monica Beverly Hillz (@monicabhillz) on

    Monica was the first Drag Race contestant to come out as trans during the show, making a tearful confession on the main stage. “I invited you here because you were fierce,” RuPaul insisted. “You deserve to be here—And that’s why you’re here.”

    Damn right.

  7. Gia Gunn

    Season 6 stunner Gia Gunn came out as trans this year, posting a video on International Transgender Day of Visibility. Now Gia Ichikawa, she just released a followup YouTube video sharing more details about her journey with her fans.

  8. Peppermint

    peppermint funky

    This New York legend blazed a trail this season as the first queen to enter the competition as an out trans woman. She admitted she was nervous how she’d be received but told NNN “I felt loved and accepted” by the Drag Race sisterhood.

  9. Chaz Bono

    Chaz has served as a guest judge on Drag Race several times, but it was his visit with his grandmother, Georgia Holt, in Season 6 that was the most memorable. When the contestants interviewed the duo for the main challenge, Cher’s son opened up about first realizing he was trans.

  10. Candis Cayne

    "Hi Gorgeous" " Transforming inner power into radiant beauty " ( pre order at Amazon )

    A post shared by Candis Cayne (@candiscayne) on

    One of Ru’s closet BFFs is actress-dancer-choreographer Candis Cayne, who’s made numerous appearances on both Drag Race and Drag U. She even appeared as a guest judge on Season 9.

Watch RuPaul’s Drag Race Fridays at 8/7c on VH1.

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.