Amanda Tori Meating has announced that she is trans and is embracing the “process of transitioning” post filming Drag Race season 16.

The New-York based queen has candidly shared her “gender exploration journey” and how she has “arrived to a point where I feel like I’m transitioning” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s, Quick Drag podcast.

In the interview she revealed that she considered herself to be non-binary for roughly four years prior to her stint competing on Drag Race. However, she was “figuring out where exactly I sat on the trans spectrum.”

Amanda Tori Meating explained how her now ex-husband “wasn’t at all” supportive of her gender identity: “It wasn’t at all supported by my partner, and it ended up being a big part of why I had to leave, because he didn’t want to be with a trans person.

“I was in a bad place about it, mentally, for a while, but you get to a point where you’re like, ‘I have to do what’s right for me’, and that involved getting out of that.”

Part of her own process of self acceptance was her experience on Drag Race and feeling empowered to “stand up” for herself. “I showed up to Drag Race in this space of, I’m going to advocate for myself, I’m going to stand up for myself, I’m not going to allow myself to be victimised in the way that I feel like I have been in the past, pre-Drag Race.”

In addition, she spoke of the validation she found in being referred to by her drag persona: “In this environment for the first time where everyone’s calling me Amanda and not my government name, and realising how good that felt, and I started to feel a bit more comfortable in the reformation of my identity.”

Returning home after filming season 16 was “jarring”, said Amanda, as she was called by her “government name” and people used male pronouns: “I was like, this is very much not correct for me. That experience helped push me out of the nest a little bit and crack the egg.”

For now, Amanda is at a point where she’s “transitioning”, but not ready to call herself a trans woman just yet. Rather she said “I feel like that’s a bit of an achievement that I’ve yet to score, but I refer to myself as a t-girl at the moment.”

The 16th season of the Emmy-winning reality competition series hit US screens 5 January.

This year’s queens have a chance to take away the grand prize of $200,000 – the highest cash prize for a regular season of Drag Race to date

Competing alongside Amanda Tori Meating is Dawn, Geneva Karr, Hershii LiqCour-Jeté, Megami, Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige, Mirage, Morphine Love Dion, Nymphia Wind, Plane Jane, Plasma, Q, Sapphira Cristál and Xunami Muse.

On the next episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the queens will tackle Girl Groups week.