International Drag Day Date in the current year: July 16, 2024

International Drag Day International Drag Day is an annual event held on July 16. It was created to celebrate the drag culture around the world and to give it more exposure, highlighting its transition from marginalized to mainstream.

The term “drag” refers to the performance of femininity, masculinity, or other forms of gender expression. It is commonly associated with drag queens, people (usually male) who perform femininity. Historically, the practice of men playing female roles is probably as old as theatre itself. Until the late 17th century in England and the early 19th century in the Papal States, acting on stage was considered an immoral occupation for women, so female roles were conventionally portrayed by boys or young men.

And wasn’t only Europe where men played female roles on stage. The classical Japanese theatre of kabuki started as an all-female troupe founded by Izumo no Okuni. However, in 1629, women were banned from performing to prevent indecency, and crossed-dressed male actors took over female roles.

However, men in female roles in the traditional theatre (travesti actors) can hardly be considered the predecessors of modern drag queens. Drag as an art form and culture began to flourish in music halls and vaudeville, where female impersonators (men performing in drag) enjoyed quite a popularity. In the early 20th century, female impersonation became tied to the LGBT community.

In the 1960s, drag queens were actively involved in the Stonewall riots; they were among the most marginalized people in the gay community and were often being arrested because it was hard for them to blend in. The drag culture remained marginalized for decades, but now it is gradually becoming mainstream, largely due to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Although drag culture is commonly associated with the LGBT community, specifically gay men and gay culture, not all drag queens are gay. People who do drag can be of any gender and sexual identity; they partake in this activity for a number of reasons. The term “drag queen” usually refers to men portraying women, “drag king” to women portraying men, and “faux queen” to women portraying an exaggerated presentation of femininity. The term “drag artist” is becoming increasingly popular, since it is more inclusive.

Drag queens usually have a drag name, which they may pick themselves or be given by a friend, sometimes referred to as a “drag mother”. For some drag queens, wearing drag is just a means of self-expression, but many drag queens perform in shows, either as a hobby or as a job. The process of getting into character can take hours.

Adam Steward founded International Drag Day in 2009, aiming to give drag artists an opportunity to celebrate and promote their culture in a proper and safe way. It is marked with drag shows and performances, as well as discussions and debates on the role of the drag community in the LGBT movement and feminism, the challenges that drag artists have to face on a daily basis, the drag culture in different countries, and other relevant issues.

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International Drag Day, international observances, drag culture, drag artists, drag performers, drag queens