Let’s Unpack the Backlash Around YouTuber Trisha Paytas Coming Out as Transgender

YouTuber Trisha Paytas, who you might know for mukbangs and meltdowns, has a long history of being controversial. (Seriously, she’s been criticized for everything from publicly outing her ex-boyfriend to ranting about immigrants for views.) Most recently, Trisha posted a video in which she explained that she is a transgender male, and many people are calling her out for exploiting the LGBTQ+ community for attention.

In the 15-minute vlog, Trisha starts out by saying that she does not intend for this to be a “trolling video.” She goes on to say that she is “1000% transgender,” because she does not fit feminine stereotypes, but that she also identifies with her “natural born identity.” FYI, the definition of transgender is someone whose gender assigned at birth by a doctor does not match their gender identity.

“That’s why I identify more as a gay man, because I like guys but I also identify as a guy,” says the 31-year-old. She also explains that she identifies as a “drag queen” because she enjoys dressing as a woman. (BTW, “drag queen” is not a sexual orientation or gender identity.)

While Trisha should not be criticized for sharing her coming-out journey, there are lots of problematic things about the video. For example, Trisha repeatedly makes statements that she prefaces with phrases like, “This will be scandalous,” which makes it seem like she’s intentionally being controversial. She says that she knows it might ruffle a few feathers that she doesn’t “love pronouns like they and them.” Additionally, she makes a number of generally harmful comments about transitioning. (Trisha does not plan to transition.)

No matter what her intentions actually are, Trisha is dangerously dismissing others in the process of trying to unpack her own identity.

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of mixed reactions to Trisha’s video. While some are supportive of her coming out, others believe that she’s using her massive platform to exploit gender identity as click bait and are concerned that her words are harmful toward the trans community.

Report this tweet. Using gender identity as click bait is a privileged act of violence. I’m not gonna stand for it. I don’t care what it’s actually about. The headline and photo used cannot be serious. Trans people are murdered for quietly trying to live their life. Big NOPE😡 https://t.co/b7PB99vc5H

Makeup artist Patrick Starr has also chimed in, adding that “being trans is not a costume.”

ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID. Being TRANS IS NOT A COSTUME. Just because I wear a wig and lashes… does not make me a WOMAN for the time that I play dress up. APOLOGIZE NOW. https://t.co/APIYC2snwM

Shortly after, Patrick apologized for the severity of the tweet but stood by the original message.

I’m so sorry for my last tweet. But I’m not going to tolerate disrespect to the trans community.

Gigi Gorgeous, who has long shared her journey as a transgender woman, even created a video addressing the controversy. The two YouTubers are friends and Gigi ultimately supports Trisha for being courageous enough to come out, but she feels that the video is harmful to the trans community for many reasons, including the language that Trisha used.

“I firmly believe that when someone tells you who they are, what their label is, how they want to be identified, you have to believe that person,” says Gigi. “Trisha said, ‘I am a transgender man,’ and that is exactly how I will view him.”

In response to the backlash, Trisha has uploaded an apology video explaining that although she has a history of being a troll, the “I am transgender” video was completely genuine. She opens up about seeing a gender identity therapist and apologizes for using offensive language.

“I never would want to offend that community that I’ve been so strong for and admired and loved and allied with for so long. Especially the transgender community.”

Ultimately, nobody can dictate Trisha’s gender identity but Trisha. If these videos are truly the first steps in her coming-out journey, here’s to hoping that she works to educate herself and others along the way.

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