RuPaul talking about the challenge in the episode | Photo: Twitter @RuPaulsDragRace
In the most recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul described the episode’s challenge with some choice words people are not happy with — specifically, making light of mental health issues like bipolar disorder.
The challenge was pretty simple. Contestants had to create evil twin personas.
While revealing the challenge, RuPaul encouraged them all to ‘board the bipolar express’. And fans are not happy.
The Queens served the yin to their yang in this week’s Evil Twins maxi challenge! 😇/😈
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) June 8, 2018
Bipolar is a mental disorder that causes unusual and dramatic shifts in moods, energy, and activity levels. It can make carrying out day-to-day tasks extremely difficult.
There are four types of the disorder: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder, and other specified and unspecified related disorders.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an average of 4.4% American adults will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.
A majority of those affected from 2001-2003, 82.9%, had a serious impairment compared to only 17.1% reporting a moderate impairment.
Fans immediately expressed their distaste with the ‘joke’.
woah woah woah, “all aboard the bipolar express”? Ru? what?
— Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) June 8, 2018
THE BIPOLAR EXPRESS great cheers RuPaul 😒😒😒😒
— Sophie Benjamin (@sophbenj) June 8, 2018
Drag Race’s “bipolar express” theme pic.twitter.com/u36R39P2J3
— 🌹 leah 🌹 (@flvral) June 9, 2018
In a week where mental health and suicide has been on the forefront of news, many people criticized making light of mental illness.
Last week, chef Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. His death came only days after designer Kate Spade’s suicide.
Then came the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It revealed that 49 out of the United States’ 50 states saw an increase in the suicide rate from 1999 to 2016.
12 states saw an increase between 38 and 58%. Another 12 had an increase between 31 and 37%.
The only state that experience a decrease in the suicide rate was Nevada.
Fans criticized RuPaul for trivializing bipolar disorder, as well as making a connection between people who suffer from it and the idea of good and evil.
If you didn’t take issue with @RuPaul using references to bipolar and dissociative identity disorder to introduce the evil twin challenge, then maybe you should reconsider your relationship with mental health stigma!
— Joseph John Sanchez III (@JJS_III) June 8, 2018
I’m a big fan of @RuPaulsDragRace. I also have bipolar. It not actually super funny. So maybe @RuPaul can toss bipolar jokes, and all other mental disability jokes, into the same dustbin as ‘shemail’. #MentalHealth #bipolar #neuroqueer #DragRace #ableism
— John Blatzheim (@johnbltz) June 8, 2018
Also fuck #DragRace tonight. Seriously, trying to do a good and evil thing and then calling it “bipolar” is not only fucking wrong but it’s outright dangerous to how people are perceived with it. This is supposed to be my happy place show not this and it can go fuck itself.
— Kim Void (@aproclivity) June 8, 2018