Meet Peppermint, the Groundbreaking New Star of the Transgender Equality Movement
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For fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was clear from the beginning of season nine that this New York queen was a standout star. Peppermint, who recently became the first openly transgender contestant in Drag Race history, was the runner-up to winner Sasha Velour and a clear fan favorite. All around, the season was a huge accomplishment — but Peppermint isn’t done making herstory.
Peppermint shared via an email interview that while her run on Drag Race was a great personal accomplishment, she’s most proud about the fact that “it means the trajectory of drag race has been forever changed.”
“The truth is, drag has always been and will always be really driven by gender nonconforming or even trans people by definition,” she explained.
Thanks to the Drag Race platform, Peppermint has been able to challenge norms by bringing her story to the public. For the past several months, she’s had several cameras following her around for the documentary Project Peppermint, directed by Oriel Pe’er. The film, which looks at Peppermint’s life over the last year, captures some intimate moments in her journey as a trans woman, including her nightly drag performances, her quick rise to fame through Drag Race, and her experience with surgery.
“I want people to be entertained, but for those who want a deeper look into what I’ve gone through and what life can be like, hopefully the documentary will be just that,” Peppermint explained via e-mail.
Director Pe’er, who is a longtime friend of Peppermint’s, has been able to help her use her voice to give hope to trans folks who may be struggling. He explains in an interview with Billboard, “I showed up at her place with my camera and we started filming. Looking back at the footage, it’s amazing to see how rich this first encounter with the camera was. She really opened up and I felt like she was ready to tell her story.” In the documentary, Peppermint speaks candidly, opening up for the first time about initially considering sex work to pay for her gender-alignment surgery.
Peppermint hopes that with her platform, she can help trans folks in the drag community feel comfortable. She said via e-mail that while it’s not her responsibility to lead the charge, she has a deep dedication to both the trans and the LGBTQ+ communities and wants to ensure that diversity is a priority for the future.
Pledge yourself to #TeamPeppermint and help get Project Peppermint made today. Funds are being raised via IndieGoGo until July 22.
Was Peppermint your favorite on her season of Rupaul’s Drag Race? Tell us @BritandCo.
(Photo via @peppermint247)