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

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Bipolar Disorder

redhead woman watching sunrise over mountains

How to Have Hope When Bipolar Disorder Makes You Feel Hopeless

The liar that is bipolar disorder can tell you so many horrible things about yourself, and it repeats these lies internally until you firmly believe them. In the lowest of lows, life can feel overwhelmingly difficult. Bipolar will lovingly stroke your hair, all the while whispering that you are a burden on everyone — that [...]
Woman wearing headphones listening music, dancing and emotionally singing song at home.

3 Things I Do for My Mental Health as a Mom

Self-care — I wish it was as simple as waving a wand and saying a spell: “Accio self-care! But unfortunately for me… it’s not. It’s not easy as a mom, as a woman or as a general person of any society. The stigma of mental health makes it hard to take a moment to use your [...]
young confident woman smiling and laughing into camera

Why I Actually ‘Like’ My Bipolar Disorder

By no means am I saying bipolar disorder is a “good thing.” Learning to live with bipolar and learning to love yourself alongside the disorder is hard. Bipolar can manifest in pessimistic traits; however, there are rarely some good ones too. I’ve taken the time to take a step back, look at my disorder and [...]
young woman walking down alleyway while traveling

8 Tips for Traveling When You Live With Bipolar Disorder

Spring and summertime! It’s the time of year when my husband and I need a break from work and home life, so we get away for a few days. I attempt to never go too far from home because that can be a big mistake. (I had a complete meltdown in Rome and I disappeared [...]