Drag has become extremely popular due to shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race, and now people are starting to realize the beauty and artistry of drag culture. One thing that has sparked a lot of controversy, is the practice of cisgendered women practicing drag. Named bio queens, or faux queens, these girls wear the outrageous drag makeup we’re used to seeing, and do all the things that drag queens do on stage.
Many people have spoken out with having a problem with this, because drag is, first and foremost, part of queer culture. Many queens use their fame to speak on issues and give a voice to oppressed members of the lgbt+ community. Also, drag is about dismantling ideas of gender, and some argue that bio queens, being women, aren’t doing that. The biggest fear it seems, is that it’s a lot of straight white women who are now starting to become bio queens, and that this means that drag will become less of a staple in the queer community, and more of a fun and cute thing that women do, that has lost it’s original meaning. (As a black girl, I can 100% see where they’re coming from with this one.) There is already fetitisashion of mlm relationships, and treating gay people like fun token friends, going on, so the fear of drag losing its political message isn’t exactly irrational.
One the opposite end, some bio queens are upset that they are not welcomed into the world of drag as easily. When auditioning for Drag Race, the rules state that you must be biologically male to compete, (even though Peppermint, a legendary transgender queen, made it to the top 4 of season 9 this year) and Rupaul when asked if there will ever be women on drag race, stated, “There’s already a female drag competition, it’s called #MissUniverse”. I have to admit, when I first started hearing of bio queens, I kind of side-eyed. Drag has become popular with girls outside of the queer community, and it is an extremely fun, and exciting form of entertainment, so of course there would be a movement of cis-women wanting to get in on the fun.
My opinion, as a cis-gender girl within the queer community, (who is a fan of drag, but doesn’t practice it) is that of course, gender shouldn’t stop someone from doing what they love. Many, drag queens, such as Mimi Imfurst, have expressed love for bio queens like Holy McGrail and Crimson Kitty, and stating that they’d book them for shows because they’re talented. I think the problem lies within people not realizing that it’s not just about putting on makeup and lip syncing to Whitney Houston or Cher. There is a lot of politics involved in drag, and it is, and will always be LGBT culture. I think “drag” has taken on a different meaning than the original meaning of dressing like a different gender, because we’re in a time where we’re pushing to show that gender doesn’t exist! I think the exaggeration of femininity and female archetypes done by women is kind of fun and interesting, and I don’t think that anyone’s gender should stop them from expressing themselves, I just think it becomes a problem when the original message and audience is ignored or overshadowed.