Head to most drag shows and chances are that you’ll see countless people wearing drag, and we don’t just mean the performers. But is this OK to do, or is it rude to go to a drag show in drag?
It is fine to attend a drag show in drag. If you attend a drag show, chances are that you’ll see countless other people dressed up in the same way. However, we do encourage you to double-check the venue’s website beforehand to see whether they allow non-performers to wear drag. It is also important that you treat the performing queens with respect during their performance.
On this page, we’re going to discuss the idea of attending a drag show in drag as a non-performer. We’ll also give you a few rules of etiquette to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Is it Rude to Go to a Drag Show in Drag?
Absolutely not! In fact, it is often encouraged, and most drag performers will love it when people attend their shows in drag.
You must remember that one of the ideas behind drag is to push the boundaries of gender identity. Drag creates an environment where people are free to be who they want to be. If you’ve ever been to a drag show, then you will know just how accepting everybody around you is. So, if you feel like dressing in drag when you are attending a drag show, why wouldn’t you? If that is who you want to be, then be that. Nobody is going to stand in your way.
You also must remember that it would be tough for somebody to deny somebody going into a drag venue in drag. Where do you draw the line when it comes to the clothing worn? Do you say that biological men can only ever dress as biological men when in a drag club? Can women only wear dresses or skirts, so they don’t get mistaken for a drag king?
We do want to point out that there may be some people at the drag show who judge you and say that you are being rude. However, thankfully, these people are few and far between. We wouldn’t worry about it too much. For every one person who thinks you are being rude by turning up at the drag show in drag, there’ll be a hundred people who are proud of you for putting yourself out there.
Finally – remember it is only not rude to attend a drag show in drag if you follow proper etiquette. This leads us neatly to the next section.
The Rules for Attending a Drag Show in Drag
So, you want to attend a drag show in drag but don’t want people to find you rude? Well, follow these rules of etiquette, and you should be fine!
Check the Rules for the Venue
While we doubt it is going to be a problem, if you are attending a new venue, then it may be wise to check their rules. Some venues will have a dress code. While we doubt any drag venue will deny entrance to somebody dressed up as a woman, they may be strict about what you can and can’t wear i.e., they may not allow big wigs, jangly jewelry, etc. If you break these rules, then you may be denied entry.
Choose the Right Clothes to Wear
As we said, in most cases it should be fine to dress up in drag. However, we suggest that you think long and hard about the clothes that you wear. You don’t want to wear clothes that may end up upstaging the performer. You also want to avoid wearing clothes that may end up irritating the audience members.
For example – if we were wearing drag to a drag show, we would avoid wearing big wigs. While wearing a big wig is a staple piece of clothing for many in drag, it can get annoying for others when you are sitting in the audience. If you’re sitting there with a massive wig on, some people may struggle to see over the top of you. Think how annoying it would be to sit behind somebody wearing a big hat in a cinema. That’s exactly how people will feel if you wear a big wig while at a drag show.
We also recommend that you avoid any jewelry that makes a loud noise when you move around. Again, over-the-top jewelry is a staple when doing drag, but when you’re not a performer, you don’t want to irritate people. We’ve been to drag shows where people wear loud, clunky jewelry. When they move about during the performance, you can hear that noise. Not only is it distracting for the audience, but there is a chance that it could throw the drag queen of her game.
Finally – don’t wear clothing that could upstage the drag performer. So, don’t wear bright colors, flashing lights (yes, we’ve seen that happen), etc.
Respect the Performer
This is a rule whether you are wearing drag or not. However, it is more important when you attend a show wearing drag.
You would be surprised at how many audience members wearing drag try to make themselves the center of attention. Trust us – you’re standing out enough just wearing drag, you don’t need to interrupt the performer too!
When you are watching a drag performance, keep quiet. Don’t scream things at a performer (unless they ask you to). Don’t heckle a performer. Don’t get out of your seat. It is fine to laugh (this is a comedy show, after all), but if you are going overboard, it will irritate people. No, this isn’t because you are wearing drag, it is because you are being highly disrespectful of the person everybody came to see.
If you irritate the performer too much, there is a good chance that you will be ejected from the venue. We’ve seen this happen a few times. The drag queen will probably give you a few warnings before this, though.
Never Pretend to Be a Performer
At no point should you imply you are a performer at a drag show. You are there as a member of the audience, you’re not there to put on a show. This means that if somebody tries to tip you, reject the tip. If somebody asks you if you are one of the performers, then say no. As soon as you start to imply that you are performing at the drag show, it becomes rude. You’re lying, and it is very, very disrespectful to the performers.
Be Prepared for Comments
A lot of people seem to be blissfully unaware of what they are letting themselves in for when they attend a drag show dressed in drag. No, we don’t mean that people are going to think you are rude. Some may do, but that’s on them. 99% of the time, it is fine to wear drag to a drag show. It is more the fact that when you attend a drag show in drag, you are going to be opening yourself up to comments from others.
People are going to comment on your look. Some of the people who comment on your look may do it in a friendly way, but others may be highly critical of you. They may only be joking, but some of the comments that we’ve heard at drag shows sound awful, and if you aren’t prepared for it, you’re going to end up feeling quite bad.
If you are wearing drag at a drag show, you should also expect the performers to comment on you. A lot of drag performers do some audience work, and if you’re in drag then you’re going to stand out like a sore thumb. They’re going to make a beeline for you. So, if you are not a fan of jokes being made at your expense, or having the entire audience looking in your direction, then under no circumstances should you attend a drag show in drag. It’s not going to end well for you at all!
In most cases, it is not rude to attend a drag show in drag. While there are some people who look down on others who turn up in drag when they are not performing, most people will be fine with it. However, we do suggest that you check the rules for the venue before you attend. You should also follow proper etiquette when you are at the drag show e.g., not interrupting the performance of the drag performers, not wearing clothes that may hamper the experience of other people in the room, etc. Pretty simple stuff. Do bear in mind that you’ll also be opening yourself up to having others talk about you. If you don’t want to be talked about, or you don’t want to receive tons of comments when you’re at the venue, then it may be wise to dress in normal clothing instead.