Drag Performers or Drag Artists are a group of individuals who dress in non-traditional ways for their gender identity (such as men who dress up extremely femininely) and often perform shows or acts such as dancing, singing, lip-syncing, comedy, fashion shows, and so on. These individuals tend to switch pronouns when performing, have different names when performing, and have a character/persona they perform as.
Drag performances have been a common show in LGBTQ+ spaces, such as pride parades, as they encourage gender non-conformity, pronoun non-conformity, and the normalization of being oneself, all through theatre and shows.
Individuals do not have to perform in shows or in public in order to be qualified as a drag artist. As long as they like to participate in drag in some way, they can still be called drag artists.
There are specific etiquettes and ways in which drag is performed. The way these shows or acts are performed vary from location, however some ways in which the shows or acts are commonly performed are listed here.
Drag Queens are the most common of drag performers. Drag Queens are usually men, masculine-aligned, neutral-aligned, or androgynous-aligned individuals who dress up femininely and often use she/her pronouns when performing, regardless of what pronouns they use outside of performance. They are the most common of drag performers, and are often seen more than Drag Kings in media.
Drag Queens do not have to be assigned male at birth. They can include transgender men and transmasculine individuals as well.
Drag Queens also can include women and feminine-aligned individuals (regardless of AGAB). These Queens are often called Hyper Queens (seen below.)
A Hyper Queen, Diva Queen, or Faux Queen is a subset of a Drag Queen used to describe someone who is a woman or is feminine-aligned, but performs as a Drag Queen. Even though they aren't 'crossdressing,' they still exaggerate their femininity in a way that can be described as a performance, and seen as such. They also can still be called a Drag Queen if preferred.
Drag Kings are usually women, feminine-aligned, neutral-aligned, or androgynously-aligned individuals who dress up masculinely and typically use he/him pronouns when performing, regardless of what pronouns they use outside of performance.
Drag Kings do not have to be assigned female at birth. They can include transgender women and transfeminine individuals as well.
Drag Kings also can include men and masculine-aligned individuals (regardless of AGAB). These Kings are often called Hyper Kings (seen below).
A Hyper King or Faux King is a subset of a Drag King used to describe someone who is a man or is masculine-aligned, but performs as a Drag King. Even though they aren't 'crossdressing,' they still exaggerate their masculinity in a way that can be described as a performance, and seen as such. They also can still be called a Drag King if preferred.
Drag Queers or Drag Monarchs are usually binary individuals, men or women, who dress up androgynously or neutrally and typically use they/them pronouns when performing, regardless of what pronouns they use outside of performance.
A Hyper Queer, Hyper Monarch, or Faux Queer is a subset of a Drag Queer used to describe someone who is genderqueer, non-binary, or overall binaryn’t, but performs as a Drag Queer. Even though they aren't 'crossdressing,' they still exaggerate their androgyny or neutrality in a way that can be described as a performance, and seen as such. They also can still be called a Drag Monarch/Queer if preferred.
Controversy on "Faux"
Many Drag Artists do not like being referred to as a "Faux" Queen/King/Queer/Monarch because it can imply that they are not real or genuine Drag Artists as women and feminine-aligned Drag Queens, men and masculine-aligned Drag Kings, and non-binary/genderqueer/binaryn’t Drag Queers/Monarchs. Many also find the usage of "faux" to be outdated and offensive when it comes to drag.
The first individual known to describe themself as "the queen of drag" was William Dorsey Swann, born enslaved in Hancock, Maryland, who in the 1880s started hosting drag balls in Washington, DC attended by other men who were formerly enslaved, and often raided by the police, as documented in the newspapers. In 1896, Swann was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail on the false charge of "keeping a disorderly house" (euphemism for running a brothel) and requested a pardon from the president for holding a drag ball (the request was denied).
Since then, the term drag has been used for individuals who do gender non-conforming performances.
The first drag pride flag was created, in 1999, by artist Sean Campbell and was called the Feather Pride Flag. The phoenix was used as a symbol of rebirth and fires of passion with which the drag community uses to raise awareness and funds for many causes.
The next Drag Pride flag came to be as a result of the efforts of the Austin International Drag Festival (AIDF) 2016. Purple represents a passion for drag, white represents how ones body and face becomes a blank slate to change and create characters on, blue represents self expression and loyalty, the crown represents leadership within the community, and the stars represents the many forms of drag.
The drag queen, drag king, drag monarch flags were created by SilenceTheFox on DeviantArt on June 9, 2018.