Post Binary Drag!

By its nature, drag traverses gender.  Any number of bodies can perform any number of genders in the context of drag.

When a female performer portrays a man through makeup, clothes, and gesture, or when a male performer portrays a woman, they show how easily gender can be performed. This begs the question, is every gender a performance?

Similarly, when drag performers and other nightlife artists bend gender further and express overtly androgynous genders or perform more creaturely identities, it is a way to subvert the concept of binary gender.

If gender can be performed, all aspects of the gender spectrum should be performed.

When most people think of drag, they think of men who put on wigs and dresses and lots of makeup and perform an exaggeration of femininity. That would be a Drag Queen. Of course, women also perform an exaggeration of masculinity as Drag Kings. Both of these concepts do, to some extent, fit into binary views of gender (the notion that there are only two options), because the idea is that you are one gender masquerading as the other.

On San Francisco drag stages, the lines are much more blurred. Male-bodied drag performers may perform female drag but leave their beard, perhaps adding glitter to it. Or combine wigs, fake tits, and makeup with a hairy chest and legs, and a noticeable bulge in their dress.

Female-bodied drag performers may perform female drag, male drag, or may also combine masculine and feminine characteristics, like presenting as male with no effort to conceal real breasts, or by adding a false mustache to an otherwise female presentation, a look my partner Hollow Eve has sported quite fabulously.

We also have an endless array of Bay Area performance artists, burlesque dancers, and rockers who bring variety to drag shows and further confuse the lines of what drag is.

So far, the only city I’ve seen drag performed in is San Francisco. But from what I hear, many  cities are much more limited in what goes on stage at a drag show. San Francisco is a place that encourages freedom of expression and diversity. My partner and I are blessed to have fallen in with a particularly welcoming family- Ferosha Titties and the Meow Mix crew who put on a show at Stud in San Francisco every Tuesday night.

Without their invitation to perform every aspect of my identity, I would not be the performer I am today. Nor would I be the human I am today without the safe space Meow Mix has been for me to push my boundaries and potential.

A further reflection on the Post Binary Drag that I perform can be read here!