‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Exposes Eating Disorders And Body Shaming In The Transgender Community

RuPaul’s Drag Race is an emotional thrill ride for viewers as much as it is for its own competitors, and at times, the drama rivals even the most melodramatic soap operas. However, RuPaul sometimes presents an episode that really touches a raw nerve and reminds all of us that we suffer the same problems, the same insecurities, and the same coping struggles. This week’s episode was one such episode as the contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race explored the issues surrounding eating disorders and body image concerns.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Tackles Anorexia and Bulimia in a Shockingly Candid Episode

In many ways, the LGBTQ community deals with challenges unique to the lifestyles they live, but as People shares, there are some struggles that are universal to us all. The recent RuPaul’s Drag Race episode brought attention to one of those issues during a candidly open conversation among its crew of competitors. The new episode found a rare moment of camaraderie among the drag queens when the topic of eating disorders was again brought to the forefront.

In a previous episode, comedy queen Eureka O’Hara stirred conflict with Drag Race rivals Sasha Velour and Valentina, when she made a joke about eating disorders.

This week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, O’Hara returned to the topic to offer an apology to Sasha and Valentina. The apology offered a rare moment in which the competing Drag Race personalities poured their hearts out to one another.

“I also apologize to you,” Velour told Eureka. “It’s a sensitive issue for me because I was severely anorexic for my entire early 20s. I was so unhealthy looking. People would call me E.T. because of the way I looked on the street. I have a lot of hurt from it, still.”

If that wasn’t emotional and revealing enough, RuPaul’s Drag Race offered an opportunity for Valentina to confess to continuing her own struggle with an eating disorder.

“This is just such a touchy subject for me because I do probably still have an eating disorder,” revealed the RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant.

Valentina went on to explain that her particular eating disorder is anorexia and it’s not a secret she’s been able to hide from her family. She shared that her family was concerned that she would be on her own while competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“Before I left [to film the show], I promised my mom that I would every single day. It’s so hard because sometimes I feel like I’m force-feeding myself.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race Became the Setting for a Support Meeting

As Entertainment Weekly reports, the impromptu discussion led to more drag queens opening up about their feelings in that episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Feeling more secure about opening up to her fellow contestants, Shea Coulee was the next to set past differences aside and share her own personal story.

Coulee admits to having a very troubled past, which included a devastating struggle with bulimia. Shea says she was already concerned about her body image but adds that pressure within the LGBT community to maintain high beauty standards added to her self-shaming mindset.

“Sometimes people don’t understand that, though we come across as these really strong, beautiful creatures, sometimes we’re really struggling on the inside.”

The RuPaul’s Drag Race competitor added that she’s been surprised to learn just how common eating disorders are in the LGBTQ community. Shea says there’s a positive aspect to this epidemic because it enables the LGBTQ community to create a powerful support system, helping each of them to feel the support from those who understand.

“There’s power in being able to confide in your sisters and have them support you.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays on VH1.

[Featured Image by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images]