The term Drag refers to clothing or dressing up in a way that it opposes to one’s gender. It is usually an exaggerated version of gender roles mainly for entertainment and theatrical purposes. (No, I don’t mean Ranveer Singh’s style, Gosh Bollywood!)
It started in the early 17th century when women were not made a part of any craft (patriarchy says hi), they didn’t play any part in the church hence the men dressed as females to incorporate their roles. (because hello men can do anything, even become a woman). A Drag Queen isn’t just a male in female clothes its more than just a character, it’s about a person embracing a completely new persona, the fiercest and weirdest in a way where they can become whoever and whatever they desire. Back in the day, it wasn’t considered or linked with LGBTQ, it was merely an art form.
Today, on the other hand, the art remains the same but it’s linkage with the LGBTQ has increased as apart from just straight heterosexual men and women now even the gay and transgenders have taken up the art form. “Finally, a sport for us transgenders” was also quoted.
In Today’s time Drag is most commonly associated with gay men dressing up and embodying a “larger-than-life” female persona. Also commonly referred as being ‘female impersonators’. Drag queens are flamboyant, fierce and a huge embodiment of confidence wrapped in a person. Long over the top makeup, eyelashes, feathers sequins all are a part of the drag culture. In LGBTQ+ contexts, drag is used as a way to explore gender. It is about breaking down from limitation that has been assigned to different gender roles, it is about breaking the shackles and being who you want to be without the fear of the society, unapologetically giving light to your deepest desires.
Like Drag Queens there are also Drag Kings where females dress up as their male counterparts, in men’s clothing, facial hair, and develop a deep husky voice. Unlike Drag Queens the concept of Drag Kings is just developing and is not more known, it remains an undiscovered part if compared to the Drag Queens.
Though Drag Culture has been linked with the LGBTQ + , it is very important to also understand the fact that Drag Queens and Transgenders are two separate things. Being a Cross dresser or Drag clothing in no way concludes that the other person is Transgender, or a Transgender’s identity is not merely limited to just cross dressing.
Being a Transgender is a completely different identity. Drag Culture has nothing to do with people’s sexuality in any form (clearing it because our youth confuses both the term, thanks to our illogical stereotyping of Hindi Movies)
For understanding the nuances of gender identity, sexuality and gender expression it is very important to get this understanding right. For better understanding one can refer to the early work of Drag. Pro Tip: (Stay Away from Bollywood’s impersonation of the same).