Drag is an art, a lifestyle, a means of escape. Drag is defined as the ability to gender-bend into looking like the opposite gender. Whether it’s a male gender-bending into a Drag Queen or a female gender-bending into a Drag King, it provides a moment of escape from reality and is a way to find one’s self-identity, as it did for me.

A while ago I wrote a column about the struggle of coming out to friends, family and society. However, that is only the external struggle people have to deal with; the internal struggle of learning how to come to terms with your own sexual identity. For me, it was through drag.

Imagine waking up every morning hating who you are, hating that you were born this way and wishing you could be someone else. People saying you were an abomination and the world would be better off if you just disappeared.

Those words start sinking into your psyche, you start believing them even though they are far from the truth. It’s a constant battle you must face trying not to succumb to their words.

Then one day, someone shows you life isn’t just black and white; there is actually something worth living for. That you have a purpose in this world, that you belong and deserve to be just as happy as everybody else in the world.

The person who pulled me out of seeing the world as black and white showed me a world that is full of life; one that celebrates flaws and differences within the individuals. 

A world that has no rules that you have to abide by; one that sparks limitless creativity and recognizes the many facets of gay culture and categories society has forced upon us.

Categories where we are judged on how femme or masc we are determines how much society will allow us to fit in. Labels that no matter how much power or influence we gain, we won’t be able to shake.

However, Queens take those labels and turn them into labels of empowerment. They take terms like femme, butch, prissy, f*g, and create art styles out of them and transforms their meaning.

Queens overexaggerate femininity characteristics to the point it becomes comedic. Others take it more seriously and transform themselves into models. There are so many different styles of drag that it is truly a spectrum.

Their quick-witted humor and their ability to read anyone just adds to their charm and character. They don’t let anyone walk over them, and if someone throws shade at them, they’ll throw it right back.

They recognize we are the outcasts of the world and take that knowledge and create their own rules in this world; knowing there is nothing the outside world can do about it. They bend and create new rules so much so that they even created a new language.

From every “yas queen” to “I’m gagging, floored, deceased,” it is a testament how much courage and confidence Drag Kings and Queens have. No matter how much the world hates them or puts them down, the kings and queens will just give the world a middle finger and keep living their lives.  

The world and art of drag inspired me to be who I am today and to come to terms with my sexuality. The fact the Kings and Queens are themselves no matter how much the world hates them, is the inspiration I need for me to keep being who I choose to be: my true self.

They also inspired me to reclaim my sexuality, use it to inspire others and pave the way to normalize being gay, trans, bi and anything in-between in a world that hates us. They are able to take back once derogatory terms and use it to build themselves up.

No matter if you’re a part of the community or if you’re an ally or not, we can all learn from them. We can learn how to be free, how to live our lives and how to let no one stop us from doing so.

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