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Are drag acts a problem?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by Calf, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Calf

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    I'm specifically interested in whether as a trans or trans curious person you consider the stereotypical comedy drag act to be a help or hindrance to the cause.
    I was just reminiscing and thinking about how such shows were a positive part of the 'coming of age' part of my life as a young gay man but had never really considered how it may have positively or negatively affected somebody either struggling with or already come to terms with their gender identity, until now.
    I'm only asking this question out of curiosity and to improve my own knowledge so I hope this doesn't cause anyone any offense.
     
  2. Aberrance

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    Not at all. People should be free to express themselves however they please. If cis-men want to dress in dresses and put on a persona then that's completely fine. Its exactly the same as an actor getting up on stage and performing as a different person.

    What's harmful about drag acts is that most people think that transvestite=transgender and that's where the problem lies. People need to be able to differentiate between the two types of people because they're extremely far removed when it comes to gender identity even if gender expression is similar.

    ---------- Post added 19th Apr 2016 at 09:04 PM ----------

    Not at all. People should be free to express themselves however they please. If cis-men want to dress in dresses and put on a persona then that's completely fine. Its exactly the same as an actor getting up on stage and performing as a different person.

    What's harmful about drag acts is that most people think that transvestite=transgender and that's where the problem lies. People need to be able to differentiate between the two types of people because they're extremely far removed when it comes to gender identity even if gender expression is similar.
     
  3. InfinityonHigh

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    I don't see the problem is people exploring their gender expression. However, one thing with drag is how it's often seen as a joke. And because some people are too ignorant to realize that drag has nothing to do with being trans, they see being trans as a joke too, most notably how some people see trans women.

    (I'm hesitant on whether not I should really get a say at this, please tell me if I said anything offensive)
     
    #3 InfinityonHigh, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  4. Calf

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    I understand where you're both coming from. I was thinking about the fact that you both highlighted, in that people see it as a joke and then think it's OK to mock someone that is transgender. In the same way that growing up, there were a lot of gay celebrities but they all were very camp stereotypes and so although I knew it was helping with raising the gay profile, it encouraged a stereotype that people judged me by even though it wasn't a representation of me at all.
    I don't think the average guy on the street would consider the difference between transvestite and transgender and so I can see how that could have pro's and con's but maybe I'm wrong.
     
    #4 Calf, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  5. Ghostling

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    I had a really lengthy conversation about this recently at a trans group I go to.

    Historically, it's important to note that the drag community functioned as a safe space for trans women to perform their gender in an acceptable way within the gay community. Before 'transgender' was even really a term, being a drag queen was seen as what we now call trans. Looking back, tons and tons of people who called themselves drag queens (ex. Marsha P. Johnson) could now be considered trans. (Although it's fairly bad etiquette to do so, because we have to honor and keep in mind the way terminologies change over time, and no one should presume to speak for a dead person).

    Now, drag communities no longer exist as a safe space for trans people, and in fact stand as a pinnacle of (mostly white) cis gay male communities. Gender isn't played as something to be respectable of, and instead used (largely) as a joke and not very subversively as a way to (as my coworker put it) emphasize their privilege over trans women.

    Of course, that can't be said for all drag communities and I personally know a lot of trans women who figured out they were trans because of how invested they were in drag communities. So it is still a decent stepping stone for figuring out personal identities, and honestly the problem seems less to be about the act of doing drag and more about the drag queens themselves. Drag sort of pulls in a group of people who love not only playing with gender, but demeaning other people based on their choices.

    TLDR; There's a right and a wrong way to do things, and overall the act of doing drag isn't necessarily a problem, but the people who perform drag can be giant assholes, just like anyone else.
     
  6. Eveline

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    I have mixed feelings about it. One reason I am happy that drag queen acts do exist is that it gives trans women a venue to express themselves in a feminine way before transitioning. It isn't uncommon for straight or bi trans women who become a part of the LGBT community to graviate towards such acts as a way to relieve dysphoria. I suspect they aren't really that amazing at it as feminine gender expression in women is drastically different than the male feminine gender expression that drag queens represent. In other words trans women drag queens are simply women expressing themselves as women do under the pretext of acting the part. Nicely ironic...

    Most of the problems I have with drag queen acts are pretty much the same as any woman might have. If the act doesn't treat women in a respectable way, it would make me highly uncomfortable to watch it and even more so because of the connection with being transgender. I can't be too antagonistic towards the act because of the above mentioned connection. I can't blame the act for ignorant people conflating transgender people with drag queens. Hopefully in time, people will learn the difference between the two. I do feel that it is the responsibility of drag queens to make the distinction between themselves and trans women and defend trans women when such comparisons are made...
     
    #6 Eveline, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  7. baconpox

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    I don't think it's a problem, joke or not. It makes them happy, so I support it. What really makes trans people look bad is getting offended over everything, not men doing drag.
     
    #7 baconpox, Apr 19, 2016
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  8. Invidia

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    @Eveline I just wanted to mention that there are women, trans and cis, who are drag queens (and no I'm not confusing it with drag king) - being a drag queen is basically just taking femininity to the highest extreme one can.


    On the topic, no, I have no problem with it. Live and let live, you know.
     
  9. Eveline

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    I hope I didn't say anything offensive... I apologize if I did. I had a feeling that it was a bad idea to reply to this thread as I really don't know much about drag queen acts beyond what I have seen in films. :icon_redf

    (*hug*)
     
    #9 Eveline, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  10. Irisviel

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    I don't get what drag is about. Most of what I've seen is neither funny nor aesthetically pleasing... so it is hard for me to judge it all.

    However, I don't think that this is a problem, for as long as it is explicitly a comedy. At the same time, I, personally, find it a kind of humour I just don't get most of the time.
     
  11. Lazuri

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    It might be detrimental, but I don't personally mind it. Drag shows are just that--a show. The problem lies in idiots not being able to discern between drag and actually being trans.
     
  12. Irisviel

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    Basically, yes. And I don't think taking fun away from people just to conform to biggots makes any sense.

    That doesn't mean drag can't be offensive, in any possibly offensive way - just as all comedy might.
     
  13. Aberrance

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    [Wasn't meant to click post, I messed up]
     
    #13 Aberrance, Apr 19, 2016
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  14. baconpox

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    I believe they're called faux queens rathr than drag queens.
     
  15. Plattyrex

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    No, there's nothing wrong with it at all. I personally like women's clothing and make up and stuff a lot, and seeing as how we have a society that attacks men for defying gender roles in any way shape or form, I am not surprised that drag is a thing that people enjoy.
     
  16. CJliving

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    ^ All of this.
     
  17. gravechild

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    Drag shows helped me gain the confidence to start deciding which path I wanted to pursue. The trans community here is small, and you see a lot of folks who are involved in both. Events are occasionally set up to fund things like TDOR.

    To me, blaming drag for transphobia, is how some cis women blame trans women for perpetuating sexism, or gay people who say bisexuals and transgenders give them a bad name, hold them back, etc.

    If there weren't so many ridiculous expectations placed on us, drag wouldn't exist, most likely. It's revolutionary. I'm in contact with folks who participate regularly, and I don't think there's one correct way to do it.