Some 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Fans Are Mad About RuPaul's Bipolar Joke


The latest episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was about “evil twins.” The top five contestants were tasked to create two looks, one based on their “good” qualities and one on their “bad.”

In each episode, RuPaul teases the main challenge in a video. In the teaser, RuPaul said it was time for the contestants to “split personalities” and board the “bipolar express.”

The “jokes” were not well received by people on Twitter. Viewers of the show said the comments were in bad taste and perpetuated stigma. Some also said calling an “evil twins” challenge the “bipolar express” was likening the experience of living with the disorder to something that’s fun.

Twitter users also pointed out that RuPaul seemed to mistake bipolar disorder for dissociative identity disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by shifting mood states from depression to mania; it has nothing to do with having more than one personality. Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by having two or more distinct personalities and is the result of trauma. Both disorders are heavily stigmatized.

Not everyone took issue with the comments. Some twitter users said people should lighten up or that it was just a joke. Even jokes that are seemingly harmless, though, can add to stigma, Alyssa Fountain, a contributor for The Mighty, wrote.

The stigma around mental illness is insidious and part of life everywhere every day. While the ongoing issues surrounding stigma towards mental illness are massive and this battle will occur over many months and years, everyday comments and actions can help combat stigma and open dialogue on mental health.

What do you think?

Lead photo via Twitter


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