This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

WHEN YOU ARE TRUE TO YOURSELF AMAZING THINGS CAN HAPPEN

on May 13, 2015

Comedians need to be funny while actors need to be able to act, as well as singers need to sing, and dancers need to be able to dance. You might be saying thanks Captain Obvious, but its true you can be good at any one of these things and succeed in that specific field. This is not the case if you are a Drag Queen, you need to be a comedian who can make the audience laugh, you also be willing to play many different rolls that include singing and dancing! Basically you have to be able to bring it to every show and show that you are a real talent.

A little history men dressing up as women as been has been going on for quite some time. It started in a theatrical setting, with female impersonation going back to ancient Roman literature and classical Chinese theatre. Since females were not allowed to perform in the theater and were just allowed to do house hold chorus. A modern example of this phenomenon can be seen in the film Shakespeare in Love, which shows men on stage dressed as women. When looking at the history of drag, according to the online dictionary, drag means the following Sense of “ women’s clothing worn by a man” is said to be 1870 theater slang. From the sensation of long skirts trailing on the floor(another guess is Yiddish trogn “to wear,” from the German tragen); Drag Queen is from 1941

The term ‘queen’, which was considered a demining term to describe a gay man, has been around since the 1700s. The word has since been reclaimed in a more positive manor. Drag queens we speak of today that were the first to start in the 1950s and 60s. It grew in popularity and finally came to the scene really in the 80s and 90s. This was because after the two world wars, under Joseph McCartney, national paranoia in America was stiff and stubborn. Anything deemed ‘subversive’ was also deemed a national risk. In the 1950s the US State Department decided that homosexuals were part of these ‘subversive’ groups. The FBI and police kept records of ‘known homosexuals’, and printed their photographs in local papers. Many cities started to perform sweeps of bars and nightclub to eradicate the gays from the neighborhood for safety purposes. When someone wore clothing of the opposite gender were banned from the nightclubs and bars. Gay men and women were almost always publically humiliated, harassed, fired from jobs, jailed or institutionalized in mental hospitals after this started to happen.

This all started to turn around in 1969 when the gay right movement began! A mafia owned gay bar called StoneWall bar in New York, in June 18th 1969 the police conducted raid on this bar. They were trying to arrest anyone who was wearing clothing of the opposite gender. The raid didn’t go as planned because the entire bar patrons being lesbians, gays and drag queens fought back. Sylvana a Drag Queen started fighting back police by throwing change at police officers enough to have the police back down. This began a three-day riot on the streets in New York where the gay community started to rally together. Also there were reports of drag queens smashing in squad car windshields with their handbags! With countless other arrest this officially was the first time the gay community came together. The next year 1970 was the first year that Gay Pride fests was developed, and as been on a steady incline for society expecting gays.

Now that you know hardships of history of drag queen and where it came from I am happy to tell you lately it has been nothing but flourishing. It has gained in popularity tremendously internationally, My friend Brian Firkus who is a famous drag queen travels every week. He told me he travels everywhere from China, Australia, Europe and South America, anywhere in the US! He also explained of the artistry behind being a queen really is. It has gone from trashy gimmicky men trying to be funny on stage to an all out five star artist performing on stage and completely knocking your socks off.

A more modern take of how drag is seen today this shown in the article “She Works Hard For Her Money” explained An ethnographic study of drag queens. How drag queens are marginalized, both economically and socially. However, drag enables some gay men to emphasize and manipulate aspects of femininity for the means of earning attention and income and garnering situational power. Grounding their empirical findings in symbolic interaction, identity, and performance theories, Drag queens employ nuanced strategies to negotiate their contradictory status of admired yet alienated performers.

Types of Drag Queens

1.Fishy Queen/Pageant Queen: Are known to be the most feminine, very girly

     fishy

 2.Comedy Queen: Strive on having a funny goofy act

 comedy

  1. Campy Queen: Gothic look to them, less curvy feature, kinda standoffish

 campy

  1. Shock Queens: Outrageous

 shock


Here is my buddy Brian Firkus/ Trixie Mettal

 brian

He is a drag queen, he is a 27-year-old gay man who lives in Milwaukee, and his drag name he goes by is Trixie Mattel. He went to school at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and graduated with the Musical Theatre Degree. As you can see just with his educational background this has been second nature for him to be a top-level drag queen. Brian emphasized how he is really in his own element when he is creating his outfit/ performing on stage. He said he gets a high of really showing his audience how much of an artist he is!

 Brian aka Trixie within the past year has became a complete star in the Drag Queen community. He was on a reality television show that airs on Logo TV called RuPauls Drag Race. The premise of this show is a Drag Queen competing week-to-week to show who was the best drag queen. They were judged on all the attributes I stated earlier in the article plus some. They are judged on singing, dancing, comedy, originality, and how they pieced their outfits/ makeup together.

 For Brian now this the way he supports himself because of his fame he doesn’t need another job. He makes upwards to $3,500 a night and is booked 5 nights a week, that’s $840,000 a year!!! This was not always the case for Brian being this successful. Sure he is a big success and a huge star in this community now, but he had a long hard road to be where he is today.

 As I said Brian is apart of the LGBT community. Brian came from a very small town in Wisconsin called Crivitz where trust me as a person that visits there once a summer. I was even called gay multiple times and picked on for wearing clothes that were from designer stores. So you can imagine the abuse an actual gay man could endure. He also came from a abusive home, with a step dad that would belittle and beat him for being feminine. He would say things like, “Brian you are being a Trixie!” or just refer to him as “Trixie”. Hence why he now calls himself Trixie now because he said “I like to be reminded where I come from, and also I want to rub in that assholes face”. Today Brian has not communicated with his parents in over five years. Not because he doesn’t want to, but they refuse to talk to a man that is gay and also performs as a drag queen. He has thick skin and didn’t even shed an ounce of sadness as he stated this to me, but anyone with a hearts eyes would obviously love their son or daughter for whatever choices they make as long as its not harming or hurting someone else in the process.

 Brian also even had hardships as a Drag Queen. He was explaining to me that before he got put on RuPauls Drag Race the Milwaukee scene didn’t appreciate what Trixie Mettal had to offer. He had difficult time booking shows at any of the gay bars in Milwaukee, and let alone get the premier act. It was not till after he was seen on television till he was truly appreciated. As for Brian in the Drag Queen community he is a small portion of people who actually make enough money to live off of just being a drag queen. Most use this as a hobby and it tends to be extremely expensive and time consuming. The struggle most of these men face is that they have fulltime jobs. Being a Drag Queen takes time, you need to sow/perfect their outfits, and also practice their skit. This is most often an outlet to express on artistic level for themselves.

 Finally I want to put this myth to bed, it is very important to understand that a drag queen is not a transvestite. In my research I found that being a common thing, drag queens are playing a role from when the skit starts till when it ends they are that female character. After they are done with their act here normal themselves. It is a common thought that people think drag queens want to always be women, and it is just not the truth.

 

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