When Billie Lee first appeared on Vanderpump Rules last season, she was pretty much everyone’s favorite. But this season, she’s already found herself the center of some unwanted drama.
The whole thing began when Billie appeared to take James’ side after he was fired from SUR for fat-shaming Katie. Billie and James are friends and she didn’t think it was fair that he was let go.
Of course, this didn’t sit well with Katie and the clique. So when Katie set out to plan her “Girls’ Night” to replace James’ now-defunct “See You Next Tuesday” nights, she left Billie out of the planning.
As an out trans woman, Billie felt pretty triggered by the whole thing, since she’s frequently been left out of other girls-only events. She soon tweeted,
“When yo coworkers don’t include the only trans girl in GIRLS night at your own job! On the night you work!”
Katie, in particular, reacted poorly and defensively. Billie told ET,
“Instead of one of them reaching out to me and saying, ‘I understand. Let’s just talk about this. What’s going on? I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean to exclude you.’ Instead, they immediately became the victim. They were bad-mouthing me and telling me, ‘How dare. I can’t believe you would think this of me.’ But not one person was like, ‘Let’s see what the trans person’s actually feeling.’ And it was just attacking and I just never got to talk about my feelings.”
According to the rest of the girls, the lack of invitation had nothing to do with Billie’ transness but rather with the conflict over James. But it’s completely understandable why Billie would feel extremely upset by the incident.
In her Bravo blog post, she wrote,
“Never in my wildest dreams would I think as a grown woman I would be in this situation, where a work event would be the deepest trigger I’ve ever felt. Growing up transgender, you deal with a lot of exclusion. So many girl sleepovers I couldn’t go to because I was physically a boy or all the fun things my girlfriends would talk about in the girls’ locker room that I would never get to hear. As a child, I would dream of being on the girls’ team or getting invited to the all-girls pizza party. Instead, I would keep my head down and pray the boys wouldn’t pick on me. ”
In the end, Billie decided to be the bigger person and offer up an apology to Katie “playing the fat card” in her anger.
Katie, on the other hand, has yet to apologize to Billie.
Billie first landed on the scene last year when she got a job at SUR. According to Billie, she never intended on joining the show when she got the gig — she just felt grateful to have a job at all. For an out trans woman, it can be particularly difficult to find work but Lisa Vanderpump has been extremely supportive of the LGBTQ community and participates in the Pride Parade every year. Billie previously said,
“She’s like my fairy godmother. I feel like she should have a wand because she just makes things happen and she inspires me.”
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.