Weird drag queens and drag kings culture

Let’s answer some questions about Drag Queens! We see a lot of misunderstanding around these fabulous performers and want to help everyone understand a bit more about their passion and art!

What is a drag queen?
A drag queen is a person, usually male, who uses costuming and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate female gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes.

Are all drag queens men? Are drag queens male or female?
Historically, most drag queens have been men dressing as women. In modern times, drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, but they can be of any gender and sexual identity.
Female drag queens, for a time, went by terms such as “bio queen,” “faux queen,” and “hyper queen.” With today’s gender identity variations, these terms are falling out of usage. Some prefer “AFAB queen” which stands for “assigned female at birth” while others refuse to have a gender-specific label and just prefer to be known as “drag queens”

Are drag queens transgender (trans)?
Not necessarily. Drag refers to the act of dressing up in an exaggerated fashion. A transgender woman identifies with a gender she was not assigned at birth. These are two different things that sometimes meet. Some drag queens eventually transition to living as women but may still perform in drag. Some also identify as “non-binary” which means they prefer not to be referred to as male or female.

Why do people do drag?
People partake in the activity of doing drag for reasons ranging from self-expression to mainstream performance. For many, it is a career choice and a source of income.

What is a drag show? What does a drag show consist of?
Drag shows frequently include lip-sync acts, live singing performances, comedy, and dancing. Drag queens often host fun interactive activities such as drag bingo or drag karaoke. During the pandemic, a popular activity has been virtual drag bingo played over Zoom or a similar platform.

Why are they called “drag queens”? What is the origin of the term “drag queen”?
There are various theories about the origin of the term "drag queen.” The term existed in the early 20th century in Polari, a type of British -slang. Some historians believe the expression was born around the 1800s in reference to the wide skirts worn by men dressed as women that “dragged“ on the ground. Others say it was an abbreviation for “Dressed Resembling A Girl.” which was used as stage notes in the theater.

Where can I see drag queens?
Most cities have drag shows that occur at predominantly LGBTQ bars and nightclubs. There may also be a local drag queen brunch. Drag queens can also be booked to perform at special events such as a birthday, holiday parties, ladies’ nights, etc.

Have drag queens been seen on TV?
Drag queens have appeared on television for a very long time. In the 1970s there was “Beverly LaSalle” played by Lori Shannon who was given mouth-to-mouth by Archie Bunker on All in The Family. In the 1990s drag popped up all over trashy daytime talk shows such as “The Jerry Springer Show,” “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Sally,” and “Maury.” Since 2009 the Emmy award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race has given drag international visibility. Since the success of Drag Race many other drag TV shows have arisen including “Queen of the Universe,” and “Call Me Mother.” “Dragula, “ “AJ and the Queen,” “Drag Me Down the Aisle,” “We’re Here,” “Trixie & Katya,” “Super Drags,” and “Dancing Queen.”

What kind of events are drag queens suited for?
Drag queens are a great addition to a birthday party, wedding reception, bachelorette party, holiday party, corporate event, or product promotion. Drag bingo is perfect for happy hour team activities, country clubs, colleges, and universities, or churches and synagogues. A drag show fits well as a special event for a country club, senior community, or gala fundraiser.

What is “drag queen story hour?”
Children are attracted to colorfully costumed larger-than-life characters. Think Big Bird, Barney, and the Disney Princesses. It’s no surprise that many tykes are thrilled to meet a brightly attired drag queen. It has recently become popular to schedule events, often at public libraries, that involves drag performers reading stories to kids. Many forward-thinking parents are attracted to the idea of exposing their kids to gender non-conforming people to expand their worldview.

What is a “drag king”?
A drag king is most often a female performer who wears a masculine wardrobe and incorporates male gender stereotypes as part of their performance. Drag kings’ shows may involve lip-sync, live singing, acting, comedy, and/or dance.

What are some movies featuring drag queens?
Drag queens have acted in and been the subject of numerous feature films. The list below concentrates on films that have some connection to drag culture as opposed to films that simply depict men dressed as women such as Tootsie, Big Mama’s House, Mrs. Doubtfire, and The Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

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