• Ilona Verley is a contestant on 'Drag Race Canada'. (Instagram)Source: Instagram
Verley's inclusion in the first season of Drag Race Canada is particularly significant as it adds to the mounting pressure for RuPaul to be more inclusive to transgender drag queens.
By
SBS staff writers

6 Jul 2020 - 1:02 PM  UPDATED 6 Jul 2020 - 1:03 PM

Fans of the international Drag Race franchise haven't been short of TV to watch during lockdown, with Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race season 12, Drag Race All Stars, and now Drag Race Canada each premiering consecutively this year alone.

However, last week's Drag Race Canada's premiere heralded one of the more positive responses of the bunch, with social media users immediately warming to the show's diverse cast and fresh lineup of judges: Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Stacey McKenzie.

Of the twelve new queens, one to win some early love was Ilona Verley, the franchise's first Indigenous and Two-spirit identifying contestant.

Introducing themself to viewers, Verley explained that 'Two-spirited' refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is often used by Indigenous people to describe their gender identity.

"Twitter! I promise I’m gonna do my best to use this platform to raise awareness for trans rights & indigenous rights and not just as a diary anymore," Verley tweeted following the premiere.

"Hi world, nice to meet you."

Verley's inclusion in the first season of Drag Race Canada is particularly significant as it adds to the mounting pressure for RuPaul to be more inclusive to transgender drag queens - something that didn't go unnoticed online.

"Werk!" trans drag queen Mistress Sara Andrews tweeted Verley.

"Start with the fact that @RuPaulsDragRace openly discriminates against transsexuals please and thank you!"

Verley replied: "Believe me sis I am not here to just be an advocate I myself am transgender, and although I use the term 2 spirit as it is part of my culture as a First Nations person I see myself as female and am very vocal about that which you will see!"

You can learn more about Verley here.

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