You’ve probably heard of drag queens before, but what does it actually mean to be a drag queen? To do drag is to dress up and present yourself differently than your everyday gender, drag queens will usually do this for expression or to perform.
Drag queens are a necessary part of the LGBTQ community, and the art of drag has since become much more mainstream through shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race and from this drag queens have been given a rightful platform to advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Drag isn’t only limited to drag queens, there’s also drag kings too, but there’s a broad spectrum of drag and it isn’t just one thing, there’s no right or wrong way to do drag.
With that in mind, we’re going to be discussing a bit about the history of drag queens, what drag kings are and a few other things.
Are Drag Queens LGBTQ?
Yes, a lot of drag queens are part of LGBTQ as most drag queens are gay and queer men and some are transgender and cisgender women.
Drag is a way to allow people to express their gender and sexuality and to explore their gender identity, whilst some drag queens will use their persona to perform and entertain, many other will use it as a way to express themselves and a lot of drag queens will use their platform as a way to stand up against oppression and speak on political matters.
It’s a common misconception that all drag queens are transgender, which is false.
The art of drag has allowed so many people to experiment with their gender identity and from this they’ve started identifying as trans, but not all drag queens wish to be a different gender than their everyday gender.
Likewise, there’s a misconception that drag is only for gay or queer men, drag is for everybody, gay, straight, bisexual, whether you’re a woman or even if you’re non-binary.
There are other forms of drag out there, such as drag kings.
What Are Drag Kings?
Drag kings are almost similar to drag queens, the big difference is that drag queens dress in feminine clothes and take on a female persona, whilst drag kings will dress in masculine clothes and take on a male persona.
Most drag kings are cisgender women but many trasngender men or non-binary people will become drag kings too.
There’s less buzz around drag kings than there is toward queens.
Drag queens have become increasingly popular in mainstream media, and it’s become much more accepted, but as the world of drag queens has been expanding, so has the world of drag kings, yet they’re not really seen as much, but why?
The reason why could be that women are pretty much underrepresented in front of and behind the camera, furthermore, when women start to assume male characteristics, they deny the patriarchy what they see as its normal roles, which can be quite threatening to wider society.
Nevertheless, drag kings are still celebrated in many places and are able to explore their gender identity through their drag and that’s a win for the LGBTQ community.
History Of Drag Queens
Drag is not a new thing, particularly in Western culture.
Drag was very common back in Ancient Greece and also in the Shakespearian era, women weren’t allowed to perform in theaters and plays, so men would take over and assume the women’s roles, often dressing like them and putting makeup on.
Moving on to the 19th century, drag queens began to use the platform as a representative art, particularly in vaudeville shows. In the 1880s, William Dorsey Swan, the first drag queen, would begin holding drag balls at his home.
In the early 20th century, drag had become included in the LGBTQ community, this community was a highly discriminated community in the United States and had to deal with constant systemic discrimmination and drag had become no longer a recognized entertainment in the United States.
Because of this, drag shows started to be held at clubs that would only be open at night, and thus became the pinnacle of nightlife, especially in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
After the famous 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City and the fight for LGBT rights that transformed gay liberation, gay pride and culture were finally recognized and thus so was drag culture.
Films like Paris Is Burning and The Birdcage helped in making drag so recognizable within American Culture.
Today, LGBTQ is much more accepted and through this drag is much more accepted too.
The rise of TV show Rupaul’s Drag Race helped to make this happen, it made drag queens much more mainstream and gave wider society a glimpse into the hardships and beauty of being a drag queen.
Though it is much more accepted, in many places, even in the United States, LGBTQ rights are still not completely accepted.
Drag queens are a necessary part of the LGBTQ community, they stand for freedom, equality, rights and much more and they do all this whilst being a marginalized group.
Drag has transformed so much throughout the last few centuries, whilst it started from men dressing up as women in theaters and plays for women roles, it’s now progressed to even more than that as a form of gender expression and to experiment with their gender identity.
Drag kings have also paved the way for cisgender women, transgnder men and non-binary people to express themselves with the art of drag.
It’s become a way for people to express themselves freely, and whilst drag kings haven’t got the same attention that drag queens have in recent years, they’re still a necessary part of the LGBTQ community.
Shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race have also been monumental in giving drag queens a platform and introducing the art of drag to wider society, and it’s probably thanks to Rupaul and this TV show that drag is so much more accepted now.