Canada’s Drag Race: Non-binary queen Ilona Verley says they were told not to discuss ‘trans agenda’ on show

Ilona competed on the first series of ‘Drag Race’’s Canadian spin-off

Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon Boulash discuss being non-binary on RuPaul's Drag Race UK

Drag Race Canada star Ilona Verley has claimed that they were told not to discuss their transgender identity while appearing on the series.

Ilona, a non-binary and trans queen, competed last year on the first series of the Canadian spin-off of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which is hosted by former contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes.

They placed sixth in the series, but shared a series of tweets as their contract ended on Friday (3 September) about their experience on their show.

Ilona claimed that they had felt unsupported by the production team during the series, had not been allowed to make money from sex work and had been told not to talk about the “trans agenda” on TV as the company was “saving that story line for the American franchise”.

“I sacrificed everything for a TV show I thought was gonna change my life, I invested into a franchise I thought was going to foster my talent and include me in their ‘family,’” they wrote. “However with the timing of my season I got very little opportunity and ended up a discarded asset.

“I received none of the things promised to me when giving up my life for the franchise and had to deal with being limited in being able to provide for myself as my industry as a nightlife entertainer was shut down due to the pandemic and I had to represent the morals of a ‘brand’.”

Ilona claimed that under their contract, they weren’t able to work on OnlyFans or as an escort, meaning that they had “no way to make money”.

“When ur thrown into “fame” there’s a stigma that comes with it,” they wrote. “It’s so hard to explain the difficulties of this situation because I do have a decent life and I have gotten great opportunities since the show.”

They then added: “Oh ya they also instructed me not to discuss my trans identity on the show and even after they instructed me not to discuss the trans agenda because they were saving that story line for the American franchise.”

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The most recent series of the Drag Race in the US featured its first trans male contestant, Gottmik, while trans woman Kylie Sonique Love was last week declared the winner of All Stars 6.

The Independent has contacted the Drag Race Canada production team for comment.

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