Everything you need to know about the latest Ru Paul's Drag Race controversy

·4-min read
Photo credit: Maddy Morphosis
Photo credit: Maddy Morphosis

Love Drag Race? Us too! Which is why, only a week after *spoiler* Krystal Versace was crowned as the UK version's latest winner, we started looking towards what the next stateside series might have in store.

Luckily for us and our drag-hungry brains, the cast for the latest season of Ru Paul's Drag Race US dropped on social media this weekend, introducing the world to the queens who will be lipsyncing for their lives once series 14 airs in early 2022 - but the announcement was overshadowed by controversy.

How do I Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 14 in the UK?

The latest season of Drag Race premiers in the UK on 8 January 2022. It will be available to watch on WOW Presents Plus with new episodes then released every Saturday from 4am GMT. The show will no longer, to some fans' dismay, be housed on Netflix and will be exclusive to the WOW Presents Plus, where subscriptions begin at £5.50 a month.

Who stars in Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 14?

The confirmed cast includes the likes of Puerto Rican pageant queen Alyssa Hunter, fellow pageant queen Paris VanMicheals, Missouri-based Daya Betty, lip sync maestro Deja Skye, New Yorker Jasmine Kennedie, Tennessee diva Jorgeous and LA’s June Jambalaya.

Given Ru Paul’s historic reluctance to include trans women in the franchise – something which he has, admittedly, since apologised for – it’s important to note that two Black trans women, Kerri Colby and Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, are among the announced contestants.

While the news was met with mostly positive responses on social media, many of the show's LGBTQIA+ fans took issue with the casting of one contestant: Maddy Morphosis. But why?

Who is Maddy Morphosis?

Describing himself as "Arkansas’s Most Overrated Drag Queen" in his Instagram bio, Maddy Morphosis is the first ever cisgender, straight man to appear on any iteration of Ru Paul's Drag Race.

This historic "first" follows other landmark moments in the franchise: such as when Victoria Scone competed as the first ever cis female queen, Gottmik was cast as the show's debut trans man contestant or Kylie Sonique Love became the first trans person to snag the crown.

However, individuals among the show's fanbase are not so happy about Morphosis being brought into the fold. The comment section of a status update announcing the news by Twitter account Pop Crave was filled with mixed opinions. One user commented that the decision would ultimately lead to making "our queer space more diluted" and while another aired frustrations that "I don’t like it. [cis, heterosexual men] have EVERYTHING ELSE. Why do they get this space too?"

Others have questioned the inclusion of a cis, heterosexual male contestant before the show opens its doors to drag kings, a demographic within the queer nightlife scene who many have argued don't benefit from the same opportunities as their queen counterparts.

Photo credit: Maddy Morphosis
Photo credit: Maddy Morphosis

"I’m not here to show the world that ‘straight guys can do drag’"

In response to the controversy, Morphosis published an official statement to his social media accounts on 5 December. In it, he details his personal experience with drag and gender identity, writing; "I entered the [drag] scene shortly after high school, because it was a safe space for me to explore my own gender identity."

Referring to distinctions between masculinity and femininity as "arbitrary" and "made-up" he discusses the gender binary as feeding toxic masculinity and perpetuating gender norms, particularly when it comes to feminine men. From here, he rejects the notion that he is trying to "show the world that 'straight guys can do drag'" and instead claims that his message for the show is to demonstrate that “you don’t have [to] inhavit the box society puts you in just to be comfortable in your own sexuality.”

He also points to the realities of discrimination within the drag and entertainment scenes, saying; "I know many entertainers who have been discriminated against for being AFAB, trans, POC and more. I think one of the best things to come out of my casting is that it’s kicking up a lot more talk about representation in the drag scene. And I hope that it helps lead to more marginalized [sic] groups being showcased and represented.”

You can read Maddy Morphosis's full statement below.

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