Why drag queens and crossdressers gain more recognition and respect todayRecent
Drag Queens and Crossdressers: Who Are They?
To cut a long story short, a crossdresser is a person who likes to don the apparel of the opposite sex to which they were assigned. Simply put, they are men who dress as women and women who dress as men. More than a fashion trend, it usually involves some intimate desire that drives their style, whether they wear their preference in public or choose to keep it private.
Although alternative lifestyles are becoming more acceptable, the idea of breaking social norms, even in the form of clothes we wear, has been very taboo and risqué. But hey, that is often the reason why crossdressers are respected — they are brave!
By the way, transvestite is the dated term for a crossdresser that has been drenched with stigma and is now considered politically incorrect. Just so you know.
But What Is Drag?
Most people have heard of or are familiar to some degree with drag. The drag culture refers to those that dress as an exaggerated representation of the opposite sex for expression or entertainment. It is far more than cross-dressing and usually comes with a huge display of pride.
To be in drag is an exuberant show. Getting into the character can take hours. Everything must be over the top, including huge hair, bold make-up, and audacious costumes. Bigger is not only better — it is essential.
People will most likely imagine a fully fancy and adorned man when thinking of drag. Although most are gay men, they can be of any gender or sexual identity. Sometimes, it is called “female impersonation on steroids,” you know, males with the extra flair that perform as women. Women who perform as men are referred to as drag kings, for example, Landon Cider.
Are There Any Differences?
The habits of a crossdresser are often practiced in secrecy. In most circumstances, they do not want to live as the opposite sex or undergo any surgical or medical interventions to permanently alter their appearance. Their main purpose is to express their masculinity or femininity through clothes without changing their personality.
Some dress up and stay home. Others leave home with the intent of trying to blend in and persuade the public that they are the gender they manifest. Often their fashion choice has nothing to do with their sexual identity, i.e., many are straight or cis.
Drag, on the other hand, is considered an art. Fun and campy. There is little humility about a good drag queen, for example. They are loud, proud, and ready to entertain. Unlike many crossdressers that may feel more comfortable with privacy, those that perform in drag are usually loud, dramatic, flamboyant, and fabulous. They want all the attention and eyes on them. It is a pageantry for communal viewing. People in drag can have any sexual preference but are typically tied with the gay community.
Drag performers, being associated with gay men primarily, surely have a significant place within the LGTBQ+ community, which was forged to create a safe space for those with alternative sexual preferences. This is a life-changing physical and mental environment for anyone who wants to be open without fear of backlash from being outed, discriminated against, or assaulted.
Drag shows encourage individuals to be who they are with humor and larger-than-life entertainment. It has a long history of using its doors to promote activism and cause awareness while providing a home of comfort to people of all identities.
Clashes have been fueled as a result of the changing definition of gender. These entertainers “make light” and poke fun at traditional gender roles. Exploiting marginalized people is now considered forbidden and controversial for a growing population.
How Do They Grow as a Community?
Music and Celebrity
The music scene and impersonations are a major part of drag productions. Over the years, sex bomb female celebrities like Cher, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Lady Gaga have played a stellar role in building a bridge between the once underground culture and the mainstream.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the emergence of home video and popular male musicians in gender bender styles pushed even further the acceptance of sexual fluidity. Freddy Mercury, David Bowie, Boy George, and George Michael made it less shocking to see men dressed in feminine garb.
Streaming Culture/The Power of Social and Pop Media
The exposure via the streaming culture has propelled the popularity of drag culture. Viewership of programs like RuPaul’s Drag Race and the rise in influence of homosexual and sexually ambiguous social media stars has made a huge impact on the growth and regard for the community. The winner of the du jour Eurovision Song Contest in 2014, Conchita Wurst, is an Austrian drag queen. Living an alternative lifestyle on camera has become quite trendy, it seems.
Drag houses are social support groups found in gay and lesbian communities. They are run by a “house mother” who hosts parties for her family while providing training, mentoring, and support to her “daughters.” The first known den mother and the self-described “queen of drag” was William Dorsey Swann, a slave in Hancock, Maryland, who started hosting balls in the 1880s.
How Do Pubs and Bars Benefit From Them?
The exact origins of drag culture are challenging to pinpoint, but the lifestyle has flourished in bars and places of evening entertainment. As early as the 17th century, the onnagata were male actors who played female parts in the kabuki theatre of Japan. In the early years of the Beijing or Peking opera, in China, all the women characters were partaken by men.
From the Middle Ages to the late mid-1900s, the European pantomime dames or impersonators used to play female roles in Shakespearean tragedies and Italian operas. The minstrel and vaudeville era in the United States introduced the prima donna and wench variety of performances, using comedy, music, and dance. Since then, the major cities of the world have continued to house and profit from the cultivation of the drag business.
No coincidence then that New York City, the center of commerce, is also the locus of the first know drag ball, extravagant fashion shows, and competition featuring gays and lesbians in Rockland Palace in the 1920s, starring mostly people of color. In the 70s and 80s, downtown cabarets and clubs such as Studio 54 and the Pyramid Club were the centers for celebrating LGBTQ+ were filled with the rich and social elite.
Today the drag scene has evolved into a full-on lip-syncing, dancing, do as you please party scene for everyone to enjoy. But one thing remains true. Drag has deep roots and is much profound than dressing up as the opposite sex. The proliferating lifestyle and dazzling performances draw spectacular audiences and connections to wealthy potential.
As you see, drag shows and crossdressing aren’t anything spooky or dangerous. But nonetheless, there are still many who oppose them and find them immoral or whatever. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the time, this kind of lifestyle is about entertainment. It’s business. Sure, many enjoy it to express their sexuality and preferences, but that is perfectly fine. Everyone should have the right to do so, provided they are not harming anyone. So, relax. Live and let live. Maybe see a drag show or two! Who knows? Maybe you’ll love it. Maybe you’ll try and give it a shot too one day! And you’ll certainly find out why drag queens are respected nowadays.