In this day and age…maybe it’s viewed as comedy. And maybe it’s flashy and more accepted as a form of entertainment. But, the truth is, the history of ‘drag’ has some pretty dark origins, and more often than not was done to escape prosecution and severe discrimination.
We live in an era where drag can be appreciated and celebrated as being fabulous, but those that came before us didn’t have it so easy.
The idea of drag was used in theater productions back when women were not allowed to participate or perform in front of a theatrical crowd. So men had to cross dress in order to play female parts. In fact, the term ‘drag’ supposedly comes from men wearing long dresses that would literally ‘drag’ across the stage during plays. (Put that in your ‘need to know’ memory banks! Hehehe!)
While this practice became popular in the 18th and 19th century, I’m quite sure that it existed long before that. Men dressing up as women has been around forever, as has the LGBTQ community. There’s no point in history where it doesn’t exist. So, if you’re ever feeling abnormal or outcast…don’t. You’re just as normal as everybody else has been for centuries.
It wasn’t until much later that the idea of dressing in drag was directly linked to the gay community. As a matter of fact, it was the so-called ‘moral’ attacks on alcohol during the prohibition era that led to an explosion in drag culture. How crazy is that?
When prohibition attempted to stop people from drinking alcohol or having any fun at all, it led to the opening of underground bars in every highly populated area in the country. Back then, it was actually illegal to be openly homosexual. You could be arrested for same sex attractions, or for dressing in clothes that weren’t assigned to your gender. But…during prohibition? It was illegal to drink alcohol or even be seen in one of the bars providing booze to its patrons. So…if you’re already breaking the law…why not go for the gold, right? Hehehe!
So this is when drag balls and gay bars sort of had their early beginnings. It’s hard to imagine that you could actually be locked up behind bars, simply for expressing your true nature. That’s crazy to me. In fact, when gay bars began opening up around the world, half of the patrons would dress up in ‘gender appropriate’ clothing…and the other half would dress up in drag. This was a way to temporarily skate around the law that absolutely forbid same sex dancing in public. Two men were NOT permitted to dance with one another…but if one of them was dressed as a woman, maybe they could duck under the watchful eye of the law.
Wow…how far we’ve come…
There is a show called “Lip Sync Battle” now, where some pretty big celebrities sign on to perform lip synced versions of some of their favorite popular songs…and ‘drag’ is a constant crowd pleaser! I mean, these celebs usually go all out, and they absolutely lay waste to the stage! Wigs, breasts, spandex, and all! I, honestly, think that it’s a blessing to see a practiced that was so illegal and so demonized by the world at large, has become acceptable enough to be fun and lighthearted and actually applauded by audiences world wide.
These are just some of the performances that have been featured on the show so far. Including Channing Tatum as Beyonce! Hahaha! And “Spider-Man’s” Tom Holland as Rhianna…which is, I think, my favorite performance ever! It’s so HOT! LOL! I love you Tom Holland!!!!
(Yeah…he’s not reading this…)
‘Members of the third sex’…
That’s how society used to refer to people who were, supposedly, abnormal. People who didn’t love who they wanted you to love. People who didn’t dress the way you wanted them to dress, or play with gender specific toys as a kid. And there are still people out there who feel the need to control the perspectives of everyone with a different opinion. Why?
Jesus…at what point does it get too exhausting for them to give a shit anymore? Really.
Have some FUN! Find a hobby! Do those people have any joy in their lives at all? What the hell are they hiding from?
A few more of my fave performances on this show! LOL! Taye Diggs…? Dude…those ARMS, though! LMAO!!! And Clark Gregg…you’re an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for crying out loud! Hahahahaha!
Even the teenage cast of “Stranger Things” jumped in to get in on the action! Which was a super fun episode! But, yeah…Caleb McLaughlin KILLED it! A well deserved win on that one, dude! ((Hugs))
Now…not everybody is in drag or gender swapping for the sake of applause. In fact, I’ve really enjoyed seeing openly gay celebrities jumping into performances of their own. And they really get into it too. Just think…30 years ago, they would have been hauled off to jail. So ridiculous.
GO for it, folks! And remember…Comsie loves you! Mwah!!!
It was the President of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, that said, “You cannot legislate acceptance. If you are not accepted, you are not safe, and you are not going to move through this world with the same rights as everybody else.” And I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. It’s true. Entertainment value aside, this is an entire community that deserves to be recognized and accepted as the beautiful people that they are.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where the ‘legal’ persecution of gays and lesbians was finally challenged and, ultimately, defeated. Enough is enough. So much so that Stonewall was declared a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016, and it remains a landmark to this day.
I know that it seems like forever ago that we’ve had artists like Ru Paul and Boy George…or that we’ve had movies like ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ or ‘Pink Flamingos’ or ‘Paris Is Burning’…but, truth be told…when compared to the span of civilization, it’s only been the blink of an eye since this behavior has been seen as acceptable and ‘normal’.
So be camp Be fabulous. Be a full blown FREAK if you want to! Why not? What judge do you have to answer to? Drag has come a long way, but I think it’s still got room for the kind of tolerance that it needs to put everyone on an even playing field.
So be true to yourself. And enjoy life as much as you can. It goes by quicker than you think. And I hope I made you guys smile for a while today.
That being said…
Here a few boys in Thailand (The TNT Boys) who did a cover of one of my absolute FAVORITE music mash ups of all time…in full drag! And that’s they’re REAL voices too! Omigod!!! Standing ovation! Brilliant!
Halloween candy bags full for each one of you! WOW!