A Brief History Of Drag Queens

A Brief History Of Drag Queens

One of the world's most oldest phenomenas.
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A cornerstone of cult reality TV, RuPaul's Drag Race has maintained a space in the heart of LGBT+ culture for many years. Bringing the art-form that is drag to the American public, the show maintains a hit today, with over 100 queens being a part of the ceremony. But although drag is a very recent phenomena in pop culture, with queens gaining noteriety and fame akin to any other entertainer, drag has held a place in the community for many many years before that.

Of course, men dressing as women has been going since the dawn of the theatre, as most people know. But on top of all of that, Shakespeare, the loveable wordsmith of the English language, actually coined the term 'drag; to describe the event of cross-dressing. Even after women were allowed, men dressed up as women was often used in entertainment for comedic effect, bringing about the beginning of drag queen culture.

From the 1870s to the 1920s, pantomime began the rise of drag. As a way of mocking females, men would put on acts as if they were women, characterizing femininity. It was until the 20s to 30s period that the first LGBT bars and meeting places began to be created. Called the 'pansy craze,' we begin to see the start of 'the gay bar,' where homosexuals could meet each other, and drag performances were just one part of the entertainment.

From the 50s to the 60s, the American public began to really crack down on the LGBT community. In fact, in order for a man to not be arrested for doing drag, he had to be wearing no less than three items of male clothing. It was around this time the Imperial Court System came to be. Create by Jose Julio Sarria (Empress Jose I), who was also the first openly gay person to run for public office, this was the first ever organization for drag queens. This lead to the creation of Drag Balls, a fraternity type of system where drag queens form a 'house,' with a mother being the head drag queen, with sisters being the queens she brings under her wing. Of course, only a little after that the Stonewall Riots occured, and the rest is history.

It wasn't until really the 1980s that drag became a more mainstream cultural phenomena. Drag queens were finally being acknowledged by the public, with many of them being featured in TV shows, and movies or the like. Most notably, Divine befriended filmmaker John Waters, and ended up starring as Tracy's mother in the movie-musical Hairspray, a tradition still carried out to this day for the show. Lady Bunny was also an up and coming drag queen, who was known for her comedy, acting, and her DJing skills.

Of course, in the 1990s and onward came the reign of RuPaul. Rising to super-stardom with his hit song "Supermodel," RuPaul changed the industry as we knew it. From there, he changed it even more in 2009 with his series Drag Race, which now allows more and more performers to promote themselves and earn their spot in the American drag community.

As we see the culture and nature of drag change, we see the evolution of society with this subculture. And as everything changes, one must pose the question of what comes next.



Cover Image Credit: RuPaul Wiki

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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