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A drag queen is a person, usually male, who dresses in drag and often acts with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles. Often they will exaggerate certain characteristics such as make-up and eyelashes for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. While drag is very much associated with gay men and gay culture, there are drag artists of all sexualities.
The etymology of the term "drag queen" is disputed. The term drag queen occurred in Polari[wp], a subset of English slang that was popular in some gay communities in the early part of the 20th century. Its first recorded use to refer to actors dressed in women's clothing is from 1870.
A folk etymology is that drag is an acronym of "Dressed Resembling A Girl" in description of male theatrical transvestism[wp].
Queen may refer to the trait of affected royalty found in the personalities of many who do drag (whether this is their normal personality or a character created for the stage). It is also related to the Old English word "quean" or cwene, which originally simply meant "woman", then was later used as a label both for promiscuous women and gay men (see Oxford English Dictionary definition number 3 for "queen").
Drag as a term referring to women's clothing worn by men has less clear origins. According to one theory, it was used in reference to transvestites at least as early as the 18th century, owing to the tendency of their skirts to drag on the ground.
Rejection in the gender / gay movement
Quote: «Drag queens have been banned from performing at a Pride event in case they offend transgender people.
Organisers of Free Pride Glasgow, which bills itself as an 'anti-commercialist' alternative to the Scottish city's main Pride event, have announced the controversial ban.
Despite the fact that drag queens have been closely associated with Pride celebrations for most of their history, they will not be allowed to appear at the event next month in case they cause offence.
A statement from the organisers said: "After much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event."»
- Wikipedia: Drag queen
- Felix Rodriguez Gonzales: Languages and cultures in contrast and comparison, John Benjamins Publishing Company 2008, ISBN 90-272-5419-2, Chapter "The feminine stereotype in gay characterization: A look at English and Spanish", p. 231
- Drag queens banned from Pride event 'because they may offend transgender people', London Evening Standard on July 22, 2015