Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A Shade Of Gray In The 'A Drag Queen Is NOT A Transsexual' Debate
RuPaul's jacked up comments
injected new life to this debate that has been ongoing in the over 15
years I've been part of the trans community about drag queens and the
I am well aware of the fact that some major leaders and iconic ones
in this community, some activism, historical events and legislative
successes were jumped off by people who back in the day were labeled
as drag queens <http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2009/03/screaming-queens-riot-at-compt...>
or female impersonators
and jumpstarted their feminine transitions by that route.
Far too many cis people confuse drag queens with actual transsexuals
and the worst offenders of that are the GL peeps in our rainbow
Yeah, that pisses transsexuals off at times, but then again it's also
a fact there are some transsexuals in our community historically and
in our era who started off as drag performers before they had their
gender epiphany and transitioned.
I wrote this comment in a June 2010 post
in an attempt to clarify what the difference was:
Drag queen, unless said drag queen is living 24/7/365 (366 in a leap
year) as a woman, DOES NOT equal trans.
And I caught some flak for saying it, too. But to me, that's the
major determinant and a straightforward measuring stick.
Does the drag queen in question want to live their life as a woman
forever? Is that drag queen taking the steps necessary to live your
feminine life away from the rainbow nightclub?
If you are, welcome to the trans sisterhood.
I have always believed and have seen with my own eyes people sliding
along the gender line segment in a masculine or feminine direction.
That movement is true in the drag, CD and ballroom communities as
If you give today's crossdresser, drag queen or ballroom femme
realness queen some time to figure where they stand in their personal
gender evolution, you may find out when you talk to them a few years
later they have begun a full time gender transition or just came back
from undergoing SRS.
Many drag queens only wear feminine attire when they perform on stage
at a club and when the show is over they're back to being men like
RuPaul Andre Charles. They have no intention of swallowing estrogen
or living their lives as women because they love their male lives.
But I'm aware of people who aren't happy being male and used the drag,
pageant and ballroom world experiences as a means to jump start their
transitions, earn money at the same time to finance them, morph their
bodies and hone their feminine personas.
Using drag in that way also got their families used to seeing them as
female when they may have had much more resistance to a regular gender
As they perfected their femininity under the guise of 'it's my job'
and swallowed hormones or underwent procedures to do precisely that,
deep down they knew they were trans women.
Some were even thinking ahead and prepping themselves for life when
they retired from the stage, pageant or ballroom circuit.
I know pageant girls who hold advanced college degrees or who are
studying for post circuit careers in diverse fields.
So for me, if you ask me the question about whether a drag queen is a
transsexual or not, to that one I'm answering NO because there are
major differences between a transwoman and a drag queen and consistent
gender presentation and commitment to living in a feminine gender role
is a major defining factor in being a transwoman.
But if you ask me whether they belong under the trans umbrella for
political reasons, I'll say yes they do because they earned that spot
for their previous and ongoing work on behalf of trans human rights
along with us transwomen.
We also have to take into account people do evolve and change and it
is possible for a transwoman to be a drag queen or start out as one
and become a finer specimen of womanhood as well.
Posted by Monica Roberts at 12:00 AM
Labels: gender binary, transgender issues