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Are Drag Queens/Kings Transgender?

There is a HUGE difference between a Drag Queen and a Transgender woman…

Added to FAQ, on 2 June, 2016

Are Drag Queens/Kings Transgender?

There’s no straight-forward answer to this. Many Transgender people and commentators have called for the recognition of Drag as completely separate from Transgenderism – an issue that has come about due to the mislabelling and perception of Trans people as being “in drag”. Although the differentiation is important, and the argument to remove Drag from the Trans spectrum understandable, it has developed into a sometimes fierce debate between the two sides.

Of course, it goes without saying that Transgendered individuals are not Drag Queens or Drag Kings. Were that difference more commonly recognised, this debate probably wouldn’t be happening. Drag Queens and Drag Kings are people who ‘play’ personas – often exaggerated, over-the-top caricatures crafted for entertainment or artistic value. Transgender people (obviously) are not there for entertainment, nor are they exaggerated for humourous or artistic effect – they are individuals who identify in themselves as not being aligned with their sex as designated at birth. Transgender individuals are no more like Drag Queens than a cisgendered woman is. Put simply: Drag is a temporary persona, a “character” – transgendered individuals are not characters, but people with non-temporary identities.

It is important to note, however, that many Drag Queen and Drag Kings may not identify as cisgender, but as transgender. This identity, however, is an identity away from their “Drag” persona. Many transgendered individuals discovered their gender identity through Drag; indeed, a great many Drag Queen/King have later come out as Trans and transitioned – with some individuals opting to continue having Drag personas. There are other Drag Queens and Kings that consider themselves fully cisgender in their own identity, away from their Drag persona. Other Drag Artists may not consider themselves cisgender, but as being ‘third gender’ –  non-binary, genderfluid/genderqueer or agender – but this is their identity, and not the identity of their Drag persona.

The same can be said for transvestites or cross-dressers; they may or may not identify as cisgender or transgender according to their own identity; for example, a man may identify fully as male, despite his enjoyment or want to cross-dress or adopt female (non-Drag) personas.

Put simply, it is on society to recognise the huge, fundamental difference between a Drag persona and a Transgendered person in order to stop this debate from raging. It should also be noted, however, that it isn’t simply transgendered activists who air grievances with Drag, but also many a cisgendered person who consider Drag an offensive mock of femininity or masculinity.

To be put simply: imagine an actor playing a gay character in a play. The character’s sexuality is completely different from their own – the actor could be a straight, bisexual or gay person playing that character, but the character’s sexuality is separate from the actor’s. The same goes with Drag – the Drag Queen/King is a character, with a separate identity to the person ‘playing’ them.

Regardless, the Queer community has embraced – and its rights fought for – by many Transgendered people and Drag Queens/Kings.

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Are Drag Queens/Kings Transgender?