Drag isn’t the cult you think it is
What are these ‘drag queens’ everyone keeps talking about? What royalty would call themselves such a thing? Well, if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community active in the scene, you’ve surely heard of it; the only competition more worth watching than the Olympics in my humble opinion. You might have watched RuPaul’s Drag race on MTV or in recent years, watching the hilarious duo Trixie Mattel and Katya (who is funnily enough a Boston native!) on Youtube.
If you’re unaware of the concept of drag, it means a person, usually a man, who adopts a female persona with an exaggerated personality and captivating costumes and makeup. It is known as one of the many experimental periods in that of a queer person’s life and whether young or old, anyone is welcome to give it a try.
Ballroom culture is a longtime underground scene of drag created by the communities of African-Americans and Latinx queens in New York City from where it originated. They created a ballroom as a way to have their pageants away from the racism, homophobia, and transphobia they faced in their day-to-day lives. Through being in this thing, many participants were known to be a part of Houses. They are alternatively shelter for those turned away by their blood families and are instead accepted by a standing mother and father; people willing to take queens under their wing.
This culture of performances and forming familial bonds serves as a way to provide young drag queens with comfort and assertion of their identity. How they express it is something that many queens struggle with but they learn how to deal with it together as a community.
Community. That is something everyone, no matter who or what you are needs. A sense of belonging and support from a community can improve mood and the way one feels about themself.
A quote I think back to a lot, is by host RuPaul’s Drag Race himself, “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag.”, seems to tie up why I have such a strong love and appreciation for drag. I see drag as an activity that seeks to welcome people from all walks of life and accept them the way they come and are. Drag should be explored and accepted more throughout the country that is claimed to be a free one.
Now, unfortunately, drag and many drag queens have recently been in hot water over a bill being signed by the governor looking to ban drag altogether in the state of Tennessee. It’s a harmful bill more so to drag queens in that state than to children as prohibits the fact they can’t openly express themselves as wanted. Although the turnaround for such a bill may not be achieved, it is still important to educate yourself on the wonderous topic of drag as you can use your knowledge to support the community.
I was a curious cat on how the topic of drag was perceived in general, so I figured I’d ask someone from the community.
I chose to interview a few students who are out members of the LGBTQ+ community and a part of the class of 2024, so safe to say they are quite opinionated being from the younger side of the community. I wouldn’t even say that’s sarcasm, I genuinely believe it is good to be opinionated and hold a strong stance on what you believe in. I asked them a big and main question of whether or not they believe drag is a cult that drags queens use to lure in children.. and they asked me if I was insane.
One answer that stuck out to me would be what one of them thought on for a few minutes, “I think drag let’s them, like, express themselves and at least they get to do it with their own people. I don’t think if kids went to a drag show, that it’d be all that harmful.” They didn’t believe it was a contest of who could get kids to be demonic or anything. Similar answers and much shorter ones were quite the theme for this interview and it became apparent very quickly, that there isn’t a negative look onto the drag community from their community, thankfully.
I mean really, drag queens only want to express themselves in a creative, artistic, and healthy manner instead of showing the world someone who they are not. We have progressed too much in this world to have them hide away like terrible creatures because they are human and should be treated as such.