First transgender male competitor on Drag Race US opens up about transitioning

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

The first transgender male contestant to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race has recalled the moment they “woke up” and decided to transition.

Gottmik, whose real name is Kade Gottlieb, is competing on the US version of the show’s 13th season and has emerged as a frontrunner.

Despite transitioning from female to male, when Gottmik appears in drag she prefers to be called by the pronouns she/her.

RuPaul
RuPaul’s Drag Race US is in its 13th series (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The Los Angeles-based make-up artist spoke to Attitude about growing up in Arizona as part of a conservative and religious family.

Speaking to the magazine in her drag persona, she said: “I think I was very clear for a long time that there was something going on, but it’s just being in such a sheltered, straight, Catholic, Arizona life, that I just didn’t have the vocabulary for what I was, being trans.

“So, after the dust settled and I was able to talk to all my friends about it, I came to the realisation that it’s, in a way, my chance to sit back and educate (my parents), as opposed to just being mad that they don’t understand what I’m going through right now.

“They definitely love me so, so much, so they were always going to love me, at the end of the day. But they just didn’t really know how to handle it.

“Like I said, I never had the vocabulary for what I was, being trans. They clearly didn’t have it, either.”

Gottmik is the first transgender male to appear on the show.

(Attitude/PA)
(Attitude/PA)

However, previous contestants have competed shortly before transitioning from male to female.

Gottmik said she was initially unsure about undergoing gender reassignment surgery because of the way masculinity was portrayed in the media.

She said: “Even before I transitioned medically, I kind of was even debating, like, ‘Am I trans?’ It was in my brain for so long, just because I would look at all the trans guys in the media and be like, that is just not me. That is not who I am. I’m way more feminine.

“I love drag, and just looking at these really trans masculine men, I was, like, how could that possibly be who I am?

“And then the second I just woke up, and I was, like, ‘Girl, if cis-gender men can be feminine, a trans guy can be feminine’.

“Just because it’s beyond you, doesn’t mean it’s not there. So, girl, do it, and pave this path. And that’s what I did, and I’m living.”

The April issue of Attitude is out now.