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How Drag Queens Work

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Author's Note: How Drag Queens Work

As someone who has attended her fair share of drag revues, getting to research and write about drag's history and culture was a particularly fun prospect. I was surprised to quickly find out that there hasn't been much mainstream coverage or scholarly research into drag. Cross-dressing in Elizabethan theater often is mentioned as an historical touchstone, which then leaves a centuries-wide gap between it and modern-day drag. When you take a closer look at that intervening time, what's interesting is that men dressing up as women didn't become a countercultural phenomenon until it became associated with homosexuality. As a result, the social response to male cross-dressing for entertainment can also be interpreted as an extension of the broader acceptance or rejection of more fluid models of gender and sexual orientation.

That said, a drag queen probably wouldn't be interested in broaching that level of discourse; she has a routine to nail and a crowd to charm.

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