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What is Drag?


Question: What is Drag?

Drag refers to dressing in the clothes and adopting the persona of a person of the opposite gender. People usually dress in drag when they are performing or entertaining. It is common to use a stage name or impersonate celebrities. Drag is different than cross-dressing or living as a transvestite which is usually more closely related to someone's core gender identity.

Drag kings are usually women who dress and perform as men. New York City based drag king, Murray Hill calls himself, "the hardest working middle-aged man in show business," and is a popular fixture in the drag scene.

People are often more familiar with drag queens than they are with drag kings. In part, this is because there are many well-known performers like, RuPaul, Dame Edna Everage, Divine (the star of the original Hairspray), and Alexis Arquette, who has been seen on shows like, "Friends," and in films like, "The Lords of Dogtown."

Though many drag performers are gay, lesbian, or transgender, some are straight. However, drag has a significant place in GLBT culture. Not only does drag provide entertainment, but drag queens played a prominent role in the Stonewall riots of 1969 that are often seen as the birth of the gay rights movement.

Though drag shows often occur at bars, or other venues not hospitable to teens, drag kings and queens are usually a visible presence at Pride Parades and events where teens are welcome.

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