Month: April 2019

Understanding Drag

This information has been adapted from the National Center for Trans Equality. For full document:

Drag is a type of entertainment where people dress up and perform, often in highly stylized ways.

Today, many prominent drag artists are people who identify as men and present themselves in exaggeratedly feminine ways as a part of their performance, and are known as drag queens. Alternately, drag kings perform stylized masculinity. Not all performers choose personas that reflect binary identities in this way, and some instead demonstrate fluidity of gender.

Many performers have a separate drag persona in addition to the self they live as every day. This persona will look different and may also have a different name and ask to be referred to by different gender pronouns.

This does not mean they are transgender. Just as actors do not keep being referred to by their character’s names after stepping offstage, drag performers do not necessarily keep the names or pronouns they use while performing. Drag performers are artists and entertainers, so being in drag is not an integral part of their identity in the same way that gender is.

On the other hand, when a transgender person comes out and asks people to use a different name and gender pronouns to refer to them, it is not part of a performance. It is an important part of their identity, and can be a critical part of affirming their gender identity.

Don’t assume that someone in drag is transgender, or vice versa. Being respectful of a drag performer’s gender is the same as being respectful of anyone else’s gender.