After hearing the concerns of many people in the transgender community, Logo today announced that the network will stop using the phrase "You've got she-mail" on its hit series RuPaul's Drag Race. Additionally, the network said it has removed from its platforms an episode of the series which featured a segment called "Female or She-male."
In a statement released on Monday to the Huffington Post, Logo said:
We wanted to thank the community for sharing their concerns around a recent segment and the use of the term 'she-mail' on Drag Race.
Logo has pulled the episode from all of our platforms and that challenge will not appear again.
Furthermore, we are removing the 'You've got she-mail' intro from new episodes of the series.
We did not intend to cause any offense, but in retrospect we realize that it was insensitive. We sincerely apologize.
Immediately following the premiere of the "Female or She-male'' episode, GLAAD spoke directly to the producers of RuPaul's Drag Race about the segment. GLAAD has since been in frequent contact with Logo and MTV Networks.
GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis said, "Logo has sent a powerful and affirming message to transgender women during a pivotal moment of visibility for the entire transgender community. GLAAD is committed to continuing to shape the narrative about the lives of transgender people with fair and accurate media images."
As we prevously stated, speaking out against certain words is only one part of creating a safer and more just world for trans people. Reaching that goal will require telling the stories of trans people in a way that destroys stereotypes and humanizes our existence. GLAAD is committed to telling those stories. We will continue working to create more opportunities in all media (mainstream and LGBT) for trans people to talk about the beauty and diversity within our community.
One of the media companies GLAAD will continue to work with, as we have for the past 20 years, is World of Wonder (commonly known as WOW), which produces RuPaul's Drag Race. World of Wonder has produced more GLAAD Media Award-nominated programming than any other single media entity - including some of the most groundbreaking transgender media images of the past ten years. In addition to producing RuPaul's Drag Race, WOW has created:
Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (2014) - On Saturday night, GLAAD presented the award for Outstanding Reality Program to this new series on Fuse follows New Orleans bounce performer Big Freedia as she tries to break into the mainstream. Freedia uses male and female pronouns interchangeably, and identifies somewhere on the transgender spectrum. And the series also features Katy Red, a transgender woman and legendary bounce performer, who is Freedia's best friend. This series will return for its second season later this year.
Becoming Chaz (2011) - In every way, Becoming Chaz was a milestone in terms of visibility for transgender men. Before this film and the media tour undertaken by Chaz Bono, most American had no idea that transgender men even existed. And the film smartly focused on Chaz's life and his relationship with his girlfriend - not on how certain medical procedures did or didn't "make him a man."
Sex Change Hospital (2008) - This heartwarming documentary series was about trans people visiting Trinidad, Colorado to have surgery with Dr. Marci Bowers. (A trans woman herself, who also serves on GLAAD's Board of Directors.) While the series did describe the surgeries people were having, the main focus of each episode was on the personal stories of the patients and the love and support they received from their families.
Transamerican Love Story (2008) - One of the first original series to appear on Logo, this reality show was a light-hearted trans take on The Bachelorette. Trans advocate Calpernia Addams was the lovely bachelorette choosing from several male suitors - one of whom was a transgender man.
One Punk Under God (2006) - While not specifically about trans issues, this series about the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker included an episode where Jay Bakker meets with transgender women who are part of an LGBT-inclusive Christian congregation. That meeting is a critical turning point for Jay as he decides to make his own ministry accepting of LGBT people.
TransGeneration (2005) - A major, groundbreaking documentary series about four transgender college students, this was one of the very first media stories about transgender youth. The students included two trans women (one of whom is from the Philippines and is also hearing-impaired), and two trans men (one of whom is unable to transition because he is from Cyprus and must return home when his student visa expires).
School's Out - the Life of a Gay High School in Texas (2003) - This documentary followed several LGBT students as they attended an alternative high school for LGBT youth in Dallas, Texas. Some of those students were young, trans people of color and the documentary showed their struggle with homelessness and unemployment as they tried to finish school.
While we agreed with many who spoke out following the "Female or She-male" sketch, we also acknowledge that transgender programming created by World of Wonder has undoubtedly made the world a better place for transgender people. RuPaul's Drag Race has also been a platform for positive images of trans people. This includes appearances by guests like trans advocates Chaz Bono, Our Lady J, and Candis Cayne, as well as contestants like Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hillz, who have gained visibility through their participation on the show.