The Art Of Drag Essay

1204 words - 5 pages

For centuries, drag queens and kings have been a source of entertainment for many people around the world. Much like theater, drag shows are purely for entertainment and require an abundant amount of time and energy. Although many of the performers are homosexual, there are many misconceptions in regards to their lifestyle, sexuality, and morals. The art of drag is very versatile and represents much more than just dressing up.

For hundreds of years, men have been on stage dressing as women. This can be dated back as far back as the thirteenth century, when the church disapproved of women actors but allowed males to disguise as the opposite sex. Forms of transvestism are rooted in the dawn of the theater and have been spotted in all corners of the world, particularly in China and Japan. Not every male who dresses as a woman is a drag queen. There are other categories, such as transvestites and cross-dressers, who ordinarily are straight men who wear female clothing for erotic purposes, pre-operational transsexuals, and transgender people. Drag queens are generally gay men who dress as women and perform. Even though it is not often noted, women have also been impersonating men on stage for centuries.

Although the term “drag king” was coined in 1972, women were performing in men’s attire long before then. However, it wasn’t until the mid 1990s that drag kings obtained some of the attention and fame that drag queens have long received. In today’s society, many women wear men’s apparel for strictly fashion reasons; these women are not considered drag kings. Despite drag kings being a large phenomenon in lesbian culture, not all drag kings are homosexual.


(The Stonewall Riots of 1969)

Notable drag queens and kings in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community of a city often act as spokespersons for the rest of the community. As a result of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, drag queens are highly respected and hold a special place within their communities and events. In the summer of 1969 after long being harassed and targeted for raids, drag queens took a stand against it, and literally fought the authorities. Resulting in six days and nights of rioting, this in turn brought the LGBT community together and started many civil rights movements. In commemoration of Stonewall, June is now Gay Pride month.

A major misconception of drag queens and kings is that they bear their stage persona and aura on a daily basis. However, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Many of the queens and kings live conventional, responsible lives; they have jobs, families, and other responsibilities much like their peers. Their over-the-top stage personalities and ostentatious appearances are reserved for show time.

Once a person has decided to become a drag queen or king, they must first choose a stage name and persona. Stage names are sometimes obtained via a “drag mother” or close friend. With time and experience,...

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