What to Wear To a Drag Show

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A drag show is a performance by drag artists, or individuals who dress and use makeup to emphasize their gender. Drag queens have traditionally been transwomen or gay men who dress up as women to imitate them. Gender identity is now less significant for drag, however, as cisgender women, transmen, and non-binary individuals are all accepted.

A drag show is a form of entertainment performed by drag artists, or people who dress and apply makeup to enhance the appearance of gender. Drag queens are traditionally gay men dressed as female impersonators or transwomen who exaggerate their appearance. Gender identity is now less important in drag, as cisgender women, transmen, and non-binary people are all welcome.


The History of Drag Shows

The art of drag has only recently entered popular culture, but it is a centuries-old art form. It's not hyperbole to say that for as long as there has been a stage, someone in drag has been performing on it. Cross-dressing dates all the way back to ancient Greece, when the concept of theater was first conceived. Women were barred from participating in productions at the time due to the perception that acting was too dangerous, so men played all of the roles.

The modern drag movement can be traced back to Julian Eltinge, an early twentieth-century American vaudeville performer, singer, and actor who elevated the act of female impersonation to a new level of artistic cachet. These performers had to deal with a legal system that punished non-normative gender expression in the United States. 45 cities passed anti-cross-dressing ordinances between 1848 and the outbreak of World War I. Despite this, the drag tradition thrived, with queens playing an important role in the Stonewall riots (a catalyst for the gay rights movement) and gay liberation.

The 1990s film Paris Is Burning provided a brutal look at what it takes to perform in drag at Harlem drag balls. The play The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which featured two drag queens in the lead roles, and the first international Drag King extravaganza—in which women dress as men—were other notable events of the decade. Over the course of 10 seasons, the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, created by drag superstar RuPaul Charles, has introduced drag to a whole new generation. The rest is "herstory," as they say.


What to Wear to a Drag Show

In drag culture, individual expression is paramount. Wear whatever best represents who you are, whether it be for a drag brunch at a restaurant or a performance at a gay bar. This might be a lavish look complete with feathers and sequins or just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Before you go, check the venue's website or social media accounts. While some bars might host themed nights or parties, others might host regular drag shows. By doing this, you can decide whether to dress up for a theme.


5 Tips for Attending a Drag Show

Before going to your first drag show, keep the following advice in mind.

1. Give drag queens a tip. Drag performers are independent artists who frequently rely on tips to make ends meet. Make sure to have some cash on hand before you attend the show. Kindly request that your bartender make change for you if you don't have any single bills on hand.

2 .Consent is essential. Drag performers are actual people. Never act in a way that the performers might find uneasy or unsafe. Respect drag queens and always get their permission before touching or taking pictures of them.

3. Be supportive of the queens. You shouldn't boo a drag queen even if you didn't enjoy their performance. Drag performers spend hours perfecting their appearances and performances, so jeering anyone dampens the atmosphere.

4. Help out your neighborhood drag queens. Many successful drag queens, including Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, and Sasha Velour, have launched their careers on TV shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and The Boulet Brothers' Dragula. Many performers, though, who have never competed, require assistance. Along with larger gatherings like DragCon, take into account going to regional performances to support your hometown queens.

5. Have fun. It was never intended for drag to be taken seriously. Drag performers want the audience to enjoy themselves just as much as they do.

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