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    • #768096

      This past Monday night I went to a special revue drag show under a elaborate tent at the international Fringe Festival that has been going on in our city for the past week. Fringe is worldwide traveling arts festival that was started in Edinburgh Scotland in 1947 and is now the largest arts festival in the world with more than 50,000 performances of 3,841 shows in 323 venues at each city. Today there are 300 Fringe festivals worldwide with 50 in the U.S alone.

      So much explaining what the fringe is.                                                                                                                          I went ‘dressed ‘of course in jeans, sweater and blouse and ankle boots,

      I hadn’t been to a drag show since the 1990’s early 2000’s when I first started going out public, first with my local support group and then went alone, To say I was bummed out, unhappy and sorry I went to is an understatement, I almost left during intermission.

      I find (myself) being a CD but passible public crossdresser for over 50 years and that we are a totally different animal than a Drag Queen, they are mostly all gay, are professional performers and entertainers only and at the end of the day the grease paint and outlandish costume come off and they live their lives as a genetic gay male (their right and choice)

      The thing I found was the outlandish is the over the top clownlike make and huge hair wigs that were laughable looking at it as a female impersonating CD. Think of Lady gaga in her most bizarre costume. Two of our local queens had been finalist on RuPaul’s Drag Race, one #4 and the other #7,

      Good for them they are professional.                                                                                                                   One of our local queens who I have seen many times in the 90’s and had picture taken with who is 6’6″‘ comes out in long dress and wearing white platform sneakers that are 4″ thick rubber soles and have buckles instead of laces.

      The final analysis of mine was they make exaggerated fun and mock women to the pleasure laughter (at their comedic detorts and comments) and gold-digging TIPS that they freely march through the crowd and begging up then greedily snatch up from outstretched hands (mostly female) -and encourage more as they stroll. With each of their performances I would estimate that they collected by outstretched hands $100-$130 cash in single; and each Queen did more than one appearance. To me that’s wrong and money grabbing, even on top of their performance salary. One of the well-known queens from my city who’s been doing it (well and is the best know) once made a comment to a radio interviewer that “crossdressers give her the Willies”!

      She continued by saying ‘she could never understand what a straight male would get dressed us as a woman and feel enjoyment and thrill or excitement from it and want to go out in public’-she just didn’t get it!

      No more Drag shows ever again for me. I was totally insulted and put off.

      I’ve grown up as a ‘big girl CD now. Your opinions are welcome.

    • #768108

      I heard an argument once that drag is essentially gendered “black face.” I don’t think crossdressing is like that, but drag certainly could be, depending on how people approach it.

      I’ve never been to a drag show so I have no personal experience. I tried watching Ru Paul’s drag race a couple of times but couldn’t get past the drama. I suppose it’s probably not my thing. I think I like performances for the performance, and don’t really care what people are wearing. I mean, if I was at the symphony and knew one of the violinists was a crossdresser, that would certainly add interest, but I’d still be more interested in the performance than the outfit.

      I don’t like drama in any form, so I guess maybe the exaggerated drag performance is probably something I’ll never be very interested in. Emulating women is one thing, and even exaggerating femininity seems alright, but mocking it is another. I suppose where that line is depends on the observer.

      On a related note (coming from a social scientist), I think people use humor as a way of coping with difference. So, a drag performer who’s not feeling comfortable in society (and there are certainly reasons for that) might do a performance they didn’t want to as a way to try and win an audience. Because of this, drag is closely associated with a kind of clownishness. I mean, if I performed a piece of music I really loved, dressed in a favorite outfit at a drag show, many in the audience would be disappointed, no matter how well I played just because it wasn’t goofy enough. I think many people might be turned off by “serious” drag. This isn’t to say that any kind of performance is necessarily better than another, but I expect there’s some feeling of constraint among performers to act a certain way, even if they’d rather do a different kind of performance.

      I’m reminded of an account about a black musician during Jim Crow days who had to darken his face before performances because the audience might not believe he was really black, or wouldn’t think he was “black enough.”

    • #768130
      Staci Gal
      Lady

      Miss Meghan…   I’m with you, I don’t understand drag shows either.  They do not represent anything about me as a crossdresser, as a matter of fact they tend to confuse the perception of me when I tell folks that I am a crossdresser.

      Having said that, drag queens are here, they do exist so, if being, going to or participating in a drag queen show is for you, go for it and have fun.  Just not my thing, just a vanilla crossdresser, “queen” of nothing.

      Smile…   Have fun, Staci…

    • #768131

      I’ve always thought of drag as a separate, sometimes overly exaggerated branch of crossdressing. Went to a drag show during a pride event a few years back. It was alright, I guess. It was like drag race: outlandish, overly sexualized outfits.

      On one hand, to each their own and they can do that if they want. On the other hand, there are some of us who would love to live life as a woman(or at least pass) and they take it to the nth degree for a couple of hours for entertainment. I was kinda bugged when my wife told someone I was in drag for one Halloween (I wore a denim skirt and green top, it’s my profile pic)

    • #768134

      I totally get where you are coming from Meghan. The drag queen probably couldn’t understand why we do what we do, and was expressing his opinion to try to gather some cheap laughs at our expense.

      Drag is pantomime, purely for show, and making money.

      It is a worry that some in society may not be able to distinguish between drag queens and crossdressers or the transgender community.

      Personally I feel I am doing my little bit to fight against these misconceptions by trying to show those I come into contact with that I am a happy honest cheerful  hard working caring parent regardless of  the way I choose to appear, and to an extent, act.
      I am always happy to discuss our choice of lifestyle with others.

      B x

       

    • #768135

      To be blunt, drag performers give crossdressing a bad rap, creating a negative stereotype in the eyes of many of our neighbors.

    • #768139
      Elaine
      Duchess

      Although we know the difference between drag and crossdressing, methinks the general public does not. We get a bad rap because of their over the top presentation. It turns people off and against us. My opinion.

    • #768143

      Wow ladies I did not expect but truly appreciate your agreement with me and  see we are all on the same wavelength. I did think I would get some negative comments, but that’s okay.                       An analogy I can make is Bozo the Clown at a circus vs. a serious Shakespearean actor or broadway star doing Tootsie or any female impersonation performance.

      thanks

    • #768152

      Hi Ladies,

      I am in complete agreement with all of you. Here in Victoria, where I live, we have two businesses that cater to the local queer population. I have been invited to go to each of them, but have been hesitant because the wait staff are all drag queens. On weekends they specialize in serving drag brunch.

      Drag queens have never appealed to me. Like you say, they’re pantomime artists crudely mocking and portraying women in the worst light!

      I am a trans woman, an intersex female. My daily presentation is that of an average lady that anyone would see everyday. I am a woman and I act and dress accordingly. So the entire way that drag is presented is, for me, a dramatic turn off!

      Some of the girls on ‘Drag Race’ are actually transgender and absolutely gorgeous. One example is a girl named ‘Valentina’ and she looks like a real female and I believe lives that way for much of her time.

      Hugs ladies,

      Ms Lauren M

    • #768323
      Anonymous

      While I have no problem with Drag and respect those who make a serious and successful effort at attaining beauty and style. On the otherhand, I have to admit that I am somewhat uncomfortable with garish and highly sexualized Drag presentations.

      For me, emulating femininity is serious business. I am a transgender person who is out in public quite regularly, I try to be stylish, appropriately dressed for the setting, and respectful of myself and others.

      • #768331
        Anonymous

        Dear Kim,

        “emulating femininity is serious business.” is the perfect statement for this discussion. I will steal that from you.

        With thanks and grace,
        The Bluest Belladonna

    • #768330
      Anonymous

      Dear Meghan,

      I thoroughly agree with you! I feel drag in itself has changed so much over the years. Drag originated for impersonations of female icons, which was a celebration of glamorous powerful women. Though now it has become a literal circus with the back flips, shock factor and stand up comedy.

      With mutual disappointment and sadness,
      The Bluest Belladonna

      • #768443

        Drag is not female impersonation. There are very few, if any, female impersonators out there these days.
        Drag is the top fuel dragster of the men dressing as women scene. Totally over the top. So much so, that Like the top fuel dragster bears little resemblance to the cars we drive, drag queens bear little resemblance to the woman on the street.

        Cerys

    • #768336
      ChloeC
      Duchess

      One of my first times being aware that there might be others that seemed more like me than anyone in my neighborhood or town or county – other than seeing various performers on TV (Jim Bailey, Flip Wilson etc) was when I came across a Chicago newspaper ad back in the 60’s for a show downtown- 30 girls on stage and only 1 is a female. Or something like that.

      I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race off and on for several years, probably seasons 3-6. Catching it in the past several months, it seemed to me that either RuPaul or the producers were constantly trying to get their contestants to exaggerate their costumes and appearance more and more as the years went by. Probably to get better ratings, I’d guess. I tended to follow the girls that tried to appear more feminine without all the exaggeration, but you could see that they were never going to win the contests.  I was actually shocked several years ago when one contestant announced that she was starting to transition. I have no idea what the others in the bleachers around her thought of that, but there was no ‘you go girl’ or any signs of encouragement. Just silence. I thought that was sort of sad.

      I now would think that that show probably forced most local drag shows to emulate it as much as possible, thus all the wildly different outlandish presentations. It’s a shame really but that’s how public entertainment seems to work, every year new shows have to one-up the previous year’s shows.

      Being a casual student of history, drag seems to be the last vestiges of what was once vaudeville, which with the rise of movies and tv, devolved into burlesque (girly shows, which Auntie Mame covered that slide pretty well), and with the sexual revolution of the 60’s and later, devolved into drag shows. You might find remnants of the others here and there, but drag shows do seem to follow the pattern of performers traveling around and playing in some lesser known venues, much like what happened to burlesque and vaudeville before that.

      Which suggests that it will pass away soon if not morph into some other kind of stage presentation. And that’s just how life seems to go.

      Hugs, ChloëC

       

      • This reply was modified 10 months ago by ChloeC.
      • #768413
        Harriette
        Lady

        The Victorian era (some of the first pictures) and the Victor/Victoria movies (1933 & 1982) had that era covered, so drag, as such, has been in entertainment for a long time.

        • #768459

          Dear Harrette, being a teacher of American history to seniors I use one book as a reference for one of my classes. ‘The Transvestite Governor of NY’ There once was a transvestite governor of New York. His name was Lord Cornbury, and served from 1702-1708. A favorite of the Queen in the crown across the pond, he appeared in ceremonies in full drag of the big fluffy dresses if that time; wearing elegant  dresses , silk stockings, and elaborate mile high  wigs,. He let his sis grow long and customarily donned high heel boots.

          He remained governor for 6 years until the American colonists became so enraged by his behavior that they forced a recall to remove him – OUT!

          • #768480
            Harriette
            Lady

            I know that crossdressers have been around for a very long time, but this character is news to me. A little bit of subtlety would probably have helped him.

            I just gave a few examples of visually recorded crossdressing. The images from the Victorian era, even from the American frontier, are, um, interesting.

            BTW, high heeled shoes were first fashionable for men, at that time. Most likely a carryover from boots for military stirrups. Then women claimed them for themselves and men lost interest in wearing them.

        • #768529
          ChloeC
          Duchess

          Hi, yes, about drag being around, I meant that drag as a traveling show, with multiple individual (or maybe 2 or 3 at most) entertainers coming out on stage, and then another, and another is pretty much the last vestiges of what was once the vaudeville and later burlesque traditions, which is some performer (or 2 or 3) comes out, does his or her thing, and then another comes out, etc. Most small ‘art’ house venues now days have a singer (for example) come out and do a whole set, and sometimes with a warm up act, doing a smaller set. Not a one and done with a full complement of performers waiting backstage for their moment in the spotlight. I was fortunate to actually attend an actual ‘burlesque’ show north side of Chicago back in the 60’s. with comics and various ages of strippers but none nude. That you really don’t see any more as it has faded into obscurity…like vaudeville.
          Hugs, ChloëC

    • #768440

      Drag is not crossdressing. Drag is drag. It is supposed to be over the top. It is supposed to go to the extreme. It is not impersonating women. It is not an insult to women.
      I am good friends with a few drag queens. As men, they are the nicest, kindest and most caring people you could ever meet. One of them was just voted runner up in a prestigious national
      person of the community type award.
      Drag queens do not go out to mock or insult women. They respect them.
      It is not the drag queens fault if knuckle draggers see crossdresers, and trans people the same as drag queens. If they can’t see the obvious difference, then it is they who are at fault, not the drag queens.
      Drag is an art form. It’s supposed to be loud and garish. The big hair, the OTT make up, the ridiculous heels, the amazing dresses…. It’s all part of the show. I do agree that Drag Race has changed the art. It can be a bit stupid, especially over the American side of the pond. Here in the UK, drag is still drag as it should be. A drag act, in an adult only drag club will be rude. There will be insults and pss taking. There will be innuendo. There will be rude jokes. There will be dubious singing, with which the audience will be expected to sing along with…. And yes, as a crossdresser that frequents drag shows, I do get the pss taken, they do sometimes have a laugh at my expense, but there is nothing hurtful. There is no hatred. They also do the same to the other acts. It’s all part of the fun. I have been dragged up on stage to sing (I can’t). I can just about hold my own when it comes to the “banter”, but they are professional. They do it for a living. It’s great fun.
      One of my drag queen friends is holding a charity night to raise funds for a transwoman to have GRS soon. I have been asked to do a 5 minute stand up routine. I’m not a stand up comedian, but I’ve been told that I’m funny. I’ll be doing this as Cerys. It won’t be drag. It will be me as Cerys. A man in a dress. The night will be a fun night of music and comedy.
      Drag queens can be bitchy…. That’s what they do…. Most are good friends with their peers, even if it doesn’t sound like sometimes.
      I love drag. I don’t fancy doing it, but I love watching it. I love my drag queen friends. Though I might protest about being dragged up on stage, deep down, I love that too.

      Cerys.

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