Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Send in the Clowns

Not a drag queen doing outreach

I have done many outreach sessions at various colleges and universities – typically for Human Sexuality classes. Usually I was accompanied by post-op, pre-op, no-op, male-to-females and/or female-to-males – a smorgasbord of trans individuals.

I don’t know how the professors prepared their students for our appearances, but oftentimes, the students were not expecting us – especially us male-to-females. The students’ questions and comments indicated that they were expecting drag queens and not the ladies that appeared before them. It was a teachable moment and our presentation enlightened the students, who were expecting someone more flamboyant. 

What was the source of their expectations?

The source was the media’s fixation on drag queens, that is, the media’s desire to publicize drag queens with inferences that the queens represent the trans community. My guess is that in many cases, the media does not know the difference or care about the difference between the trans community and the drag community. Their only concern is publishing their story and the truth be damned.

I have nothing against drag queens doing their thing. You go, girls! But I am not a drag queen and have an issue when they are held up as an example of me. So I strongly disagree that “any news is good news” – that the publicity drag queens receive is a good thing for the trans community or me.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Agua by Agua Bendita

Santiam High School in Mill City Oregon in 1993.
Femulating at Santiam High School in Mill City Oregon in 1993.
A sample from our flickr Yearbooks collection.


  1. I couldn't agree more regarding the drag queen comments, but then again, my understanding is that they generally have little use for us crossdressers either since they don't "get" us, so I guess the feeling is mutual. As for the photo...lovely presentation as an elegant, well-dressed female professional, Stana. Isnt it ironic that as for the (presumed) GG's around you, "grunge" rules as usual with nary a skirt, dress or pair of heels in sight. Sigh!

  2. Amen Sister! As I have said before, when MOST of the Make Up Tutorials on You Tube are for over the top Drag Queen styles, it says that the general public is either not aware of or doesn't care about those of us who are crossdressers or trans. And it's not limited to the "regular people" either. I have received some world class shaming from within the community.
    "Why aren't you transitioning?"
    "Are you not being true to yourself?"
    "If you're ONLY dressing then you're living a lie."
    Why do you think Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors? Ours is NOT a "One Size Fits All" situation. Support shouldn't be limited to our pantyhose, Sweeties!

  3. I couldn't agree more with the comparisons to drag queens and the fact that some femulators even refer to themselves as "queens" doesn't help either. Also some of the contestants on RuPaul have gone on to transition, which the public takes as confirmation of the stereo type. My post a few weeks back about the Gunga Den

    The woman I met Angel was not a drag Queen but a lady performing on stage. Here was a place she cold be herself. It appeared most persons their were transgender.

    We mature boomer ladies, the world changed, music, TV, politics, and Drag. There are a multitude of reasons, perhaps the short answer is because everything around it has change too.

  4. Stana you have a knack for picking out the non-civilians from the womanless archives

    Today's pick Jason Babbitt, I'm guessing joined the Ladies Corp soon after graduating, and following a trip to Thailand returned to marry the Santiam High School quarterback, who found himself mysteriously attracted to Miss Babbitt in her sapphires and sequins She now lives as Mrs. Jasmine Babbitt Harper with their family in a small town in Oregon.

  5. Unfortunately for us, the shows like Rue Paul and some of the drag queen reviews place trans folks in a somewhat bad light because it only confuses the general public between impersonators and true trans people. It's only now that we are starting to see true representation with shows like POSE, Disclosure and Transhood. Maybe when trans characters become more main stream will the public start to see Trans in a more positive light.

  6. 20 years ago i bought a book called "new york drag queens", which featured profiles on the main movers and shakers on that scene at the time (the lady bunny, lypsynka, etc) along with one of those dials that you see in old sci-fi movies - with "diva" at one end, and "clown" at the other. even though few of them were ever going to convince anybody they were a real woman, most dial pointers (presumably according to the opinion of the author) were closer to the diva end of the spectrum than the clown one.

    going from the pic posted on this site earlier this week, that doesn't seem to be the case with most if not all contestants in "ru paul's drag race". so i am wondering what the subjects of that book (at least several of whom i believe are still active to some degree) make of it?:

  7. Sally StoneAugust 25, 2021

    Drag Queens are sensational! The media loves sensational, so I'm not at all surprised queens get all the media attention. Trying to blend in is our nature, but it unfortunately doesn't help the rest of the world understand who we are.

  8. My wife is grudgingly accepting of my crossdressing (textbook DADT), so it doesn't help when we turn on the local and national newscasts during the annual Pride Month/Pride Week events where they show clips of the various Pride parades with the drag queens flaunting their over-the top costumes and makeup in all their "glory". Her disgust at what she sees and the implied transference of equivalency to my situation is palpable.

  9. I come from a time when a crossdresser or drag queen walking down the street was a potential target for a car full of guys or policemen, who would stop, get out of the car and beat the dressed person up, sometimes very badly. In DC, these crimes went immediately into the "unsolved crimes" file and were never seen again. When I was young I was scared to death about dressing outside of my bedroom or house. But I went to many, many drag shows and met the occasional crossdresser there. Interesting that in the little-bitty town of North Beach, MD the drag queens of the Gold Key Club were never bothered, nor were the crossdressers who went to the shows. Not so in DC or Baltimore.

    I'm a huge advocate of Drag shows and enjoy the hell out of them. And I've written favorably about the visibility the RuPaul shows have given to "men in dresses". But are they good or not good for our community of crossdressers and transwomen? While I don't disagree with Stana, I'm not so adamant about it. Media, for instance, runs after "shiny objects" -- always has -- and let's admit it, Drag Queens are "shiny objects". Occasionally my Washington Post has written about transwomen and they treat them like any other woman -- but with "that" difference. I've never seen an article of this type that bothers to explain the difference between us and Drag Queens. Any why should they? Stana's phrase about "the truth be damned" I thought was a little harsh. I'd substitute "details" for "truth". It's not that the media is lying about anything, they're just writing about "the shiny object" and that's it.

    My thoughts on this matter have been clear. I LOVE Drag shows, but they're just shows and the performers are necessarily over the top. If you can find the rare Female Impersonator (FI) show you'll see the difference. an FI makes an effort to be as much of a woman as she can. If any of the ladies reading this are near Key West, Florida, I invite you to visit the Lah-Te-Dah Club to see Randy Roberts or Christopher Peterson. They portray women and are as authentic as they can possibly be. They're wonderful ladies on stage.

    But I always swing back to my early memories and we just don't see that crap any more. The RuPaul and other Drag Queen shows have created significant visibility for not only Drag but pretty much all of us in women's clothing. Now I don't pass worth a damn, but I'm surprised if I even get a notice these days. People have adjusted to seeing us in dresses as no big deal. I like it that way. For one thing, it helps us blend in. And for the buffalo-in-a-dress crowd like mine nobody cares. We all get treated with more respect, unlike "the olden days". Is there still trans carnage? Sure, but it is about 99% women who put themselves in compromising positions. Straight prostitutes have the same risk. Not that they deserve it, but we all have the responsibility of watching out for ourselves. I go to safe places and still look over my shoulder regularly.

    So what do we do? We're everywhere, but what people see is Drag Queens and since we don't have a well-known label we're rolled into the Drag pot by default. I seriously like the "protection" the Drag visibility gives us, but unless something that focuses directly and positively on us comes along we're always going to be overshadowed by Drag Queens. Maybe we can get some national news on TV or print to attend Fantasia Fair or The Keystone Conference. I wish I knew the answer.

  10. I think being a drag queen can be either a way of life or making a living
    Being paid to act the fool on stage and then slipping into something more comfortable eg jumper and skirt sounds good to me

  11. Rodeo clowns don't make cowboys look bad because people get the joke. Everybody knows what a real cowboy is. DRAG QUEENS are over the top because they are entertaining and outrageous looks are part of the performance. Stana and others are out with the general public presenting as classy Trans women. The burden is on all of us to do the same when we are out and about as ambassadors of the "T" community.

    At the DIVA Las Vegas event in October Rupaul's Drag Race is one of the events available to attendees so hopefully they dress classy.