A drag queen is typically a male who dresses as a female to perform. Drag queens perform in exaggerated women’s clothing, presume female characters and representation. Though most drag queens are gay men and queer men, some are transgender and cisgender women.
What Is a Drag King?
While drag queens dress in exaggerated female clothes, drag kings dress in exaggerated male clothes to presume male characters and presentation. Most drag kings are women.
What Does The Term Drag Mean?
Drag is a form of art evolving gender-bending where a person dresses in more exaggerated clothing and makeup of the opposite sex. Though drag is mainly for performing and entertainment purposes, it is also used for gender expression and celebrating LGBTQ+ pride.
History of Drag Queen and Kings
Drag is not a new thing, especially in Western culture. Since women were not allowed to perform in theaters in ancient days, men had to take over and assume women’s roles. Drag was common in ancient Greece and also in the Shakespearean era. In the 19th century, drag queens began to use the platform as a representative art, especially in vaudeville shows. Later in the early 1880s, William Dorsey Swann, the first drag queen, held drag balls at his home.
In the early 20th century, drag was included in the LGBTQ+ community- a community discriminated against in the United States – and was longer among the recognized entertainment in the U.S. This led to drag performances becoming a nightlife thing, especially in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City.
After the famous 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City through the early 1990s, gay pride and gay culture were recognized, and so was the drag culture. Films such as Paris Is Burning, and The Birdcage helped in making drag recognizable in American culture.
Misconception About Drag Queen
The biggest misconception about drag is that men can only perform it. This is far from the truth. Anyone who feels marginalized or misunderstood by family and society can become a drag queen or king. Drag is for innovative people who desire to be seen and known by people from near and far.
Given that we live in a world of technology, everything is possible. Most drag performers are taking to social media to showcase their talent and capability. Whether costume making, makeup talent, or performing skills, drag performers’ capabilities are endless, men and women are not limited when it comes to performing. The only thing standing between them and fame is talent and memorability.
Does a Drag Queen Desire to Be Female?
Some drag queens dress as women to express their gender identity, but some do so to showcase their talent. In fact, some drag queens do not want to be viewed as female; they even don’t tend to fool anyone into thinking that they are female. Drag queens can perform their act, showcase their talent and resume being their true selves. As RuPaul once said, “I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs, and skintight dresses? – I don’t dress like a woman; I dress like a drag queen”. However, as stated above, some drag queens would like to be viewed as women. For example, Courtney Act, an Australian superstar drag queen, has used the mistaken identity as an advantage during her career.
Is Drag Queen or King Same As Being Transgender?
Though drag queens and kings are part of the LGBTQ+ community, they are not necessarily transgender. Trans women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. As said before, drag queens are mainly gay men, dressing like women while performing.
On the other hand, drag kings are women who dress like men for purposes of acting. Ensure that you differentiate between trans people, cross-dressers, and drag queens and kings before using a certain term on an individual. Remember that being trans does not necessarily mean dressing up in different genders’ clothes.
Trans is a more permanent identity that may stick to someone’s entire life. Though some trans people enjoy dressing up in exaggerated outfits for entertainment purposes, some prefer to dress in “normally”, meaning that you cannot tell whether a person is trans based on their outfits.
Additionally, being a drag queen or king or being a cross-dresser does not mean that you do not identify with the assigned gender at birth. Some cross-dressers, drag queens, and kings are straight or cisgender, meaning that they identify with their gender at birth. Some are just performers and can dress in any outfit to entertain their audience. Cross-dressing meaning is different to different individuals.
Examples Of Drag Queens
RuPaul is not only known as the queen of drag but also as Hollywood’s most successful. He has undergone an interesting ascent in his career and has achieved a lot.
Mattel is a songwriter, singer, comedian, tv personality, entrepreneur, and American drag queen. Mattel is popular among the best drag queens, especially after winning the 3rd season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Bianca Del Rio
Del Rio is among the most famous drag queens who have achieved a lot in her career. Apart from being an American drag queen, Del Rio is an actor, costume designer, and comedian. She participated in RuPaul’s Drag Race season six and won.
Examples of Drag Kings
Adam All is a UK drag king who has been performing for not less than 12 years. He usually uses art and humor while performing. Adam All runs a show in SoHo, intending to help young talents succeed.
He is one of the drag queens involved in enlightening the public about drag kings. He was also among the participants of The Making of a King documentary. He is based in LA.
This is one of the hard-working drag kings who has been in this arena since 1995. Through his hard work, Hill has achieved a lot from this platform and made a name for himself.