Debunking Myth #7: Transgender people are drag queens

This post is part of a series on Debunking the 10 (+1) Lies About Trans People

Myth #7:  Transgender people perform in drag shows

As I began to touch on in Myth #4: Transgender People Are Gay, there is an (unfortunate) automatic association made in peoples’ minds between transgenderism and drag queens/kings. If I say “trans,” they say “-vestite.” When they say “transvestite,” they think “dude in drag.”


NOTE: For the uninformed, here is the Wikipedia definition of “drag queen”:

drag queen is a man who dresses, and often acts, like a caricature woman often for the purpose of entertaining. There are many kinds of drag artists and they vary greatly, from professionals who have starred in films to people who just try it once. Drag queens also vary by class and culture and can vary even within the same cities…

Generally drag queens are males who dress and act in a female gender role, often exaggerating certain characteristics (such as make-up and eyelashes) for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. Other drag performers include drag kings, who are women who perform in male roles, faux queens, who are women who dress in an exaggerated style to emulate drag queens, and faux kings, who are men who dress to impersonate drag kings.

The term drag queen usually refers to people who dress in drag for the purpose of performing, whether singing or lip-synching, dancing, participating in events such as gay pride paradesdrag pageants, or at venues such as cabarets and discotheques… Drag is a part of Western gay culture.

The problem is that most drag queens are not actually transgender! For most drag artists, their costume is part of a theatrical act that they put on for a show but otherwise does not affect their daily lives. Being in drag is an art, profession, hobby, or act, not an identity. Drag performance is more an artifact of gay culture than a part of transgender life.

For transgender people, dressing as the gender they feel themselves to be isn’t being ‘in drag’ – it’s just dressing in their own clothes. It’s purpose isn’t shock or spectacle like drag performance. If anything, transgender people dress to be normal.

Drag v Trans

Part of the problem is peoples’ obsession with gender dress codes and clothing. Transgenderism isn’t about clothes; it’s about identity.

Back to Debunking the 10 (+1) Lies About Trans People.

2 thoughts on “Debunking Myth #7: Transgender people are drag queens

  1. Pingback: Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

  2. Pingback: Trans Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s