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Over the past few decades, drag queen shows have become a popular sensation among men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. On the other hand, transgender individuals are confronted with more prejudice than gays, lesbians, or bisexuals are. What about drag queens sets them apart from the stigma directed toward transgenders? For this study, I attended a drag brunch in a gay bar and observed how each performance compelled audience members to question perceptions of gender and sexuality. In addition, I analyzed several scholarly journal articles for research on the practices of drag queens during their performances and their appeal, or on the treatment of transgenders in heterosexual-dominant communities. From this research, I have concluded that what sets drag queens apart from most of the anti-transgender prejudice is the emphasis on hyper-femininity; in fact, the exaggerated feminine appearances and mannerisms are what usually draw audience members to a drag queen. Through this exuberant female impersonation, drag queens blur barriers between different social identifications and create a new form of entertainment that both overturns and asserts cultural ideals of masculine power. The study of their performances implies that despite the progression of women’s and LGBT rights, true equality in our society will not be realized until we find new ways of identifying and relating to others.

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Faye Prichard


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


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Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen! Assessing the Popularity of Drag Queens as Opposed to Levels of Anti-Transgender Prejudice in Modern American Society