As an AFAB drag artist, one of the most prominent criticisms and questions I get is “How can women do drag?” And many people who are new to drag (or people who may have outdated views on drag) may wonder the same thing. Isn’t drag about female impersonation? Aren’t drag artists crossdressers? How can women be drag queens if they already have the hair and wear makeup? Where’s the transformation sis??
While mainstream media that promotes drag may have ignored women and afab people in drag forever (looking at you Drag Race), women have been drag artists and drag queens as long as drag has been around. This year we’ve started seeing women in drag getting recognition finally, even if it’s practically decades late. Both Drag Race UK and Dragula, the two most prominent drag-focused TV shows, featured cis women in their casts with Victoria Scone and Sigourney Beaver. Drag Race All-Stars also crowned Kylie Sonique Love the first trans woman winner of a Drag Race season.
But even as women in drag are getting more attention, they have to deal with far more misogyny than one would expect from a predominantly queer and supposedly accepting fanbase. So let’s set the record straight:
- Women in drag are Not encroaching on LGBT spaces. Surprisingly, women can be gay too! Both Sigourney and Victoria have been open about being lesbians, and Venus Envy, another cis woman in drag, is open queer and asexual. BUT drag artists don’t have to be queer! Drag is for anyone!
- Drag is not just female impersonation or crossdressing. Women in drag are doing drag! Many of them pad, they all wear wigs, paint on completely new faces, and often do more to transform than cis men in drag (looking at you Joey Jay).
- The terms hyper-queen and bio queen are outdated and insulting! While these terms have been used to discuss women in drag in the past, most drag queens don’t associate or use them anymore. Women who are drag queens are drag queens. Same as any other queen!
- Women in drag are fucking incredible. They are some of the most innovative artists ever (I mean, look at Sigourney’s run on Dragula. COME ON!)
So support women in drag! And if you’re looking for some women in drag to support, consider this (non-exhaustive) list to start!
Creme Fatale (@cremefatale)
Sigourney Beaver (@sigourney.beaver)
Victoria Scone (@victoriascone)
Venus Envy (@venusenvydrag)