Friday, February 25, 2022

Eureka Drag!

In my late teens and early twenties, I would occasionally take the train into Manhattan and explore The City. During one of my explorations, I was taking in the huge display of magazines and newspapers on sale at the newsstand in Grand Central Terminal, when what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a magazine titled Drag.

Now, this was not the typical drag magazine I was used to seeing back home ― magazines that featured hemis, gassers, headers, blowers, mag wheels, Garlits, funny cars, Moon parts, etc. No, this drag magazine featured guys in gowns, boys in bras, men in minis, fellows in fishnets, males in marabou, etc.

Wow! I had found a magazine just for me!

I looked around me to see if anyone was looking at me looking at the magazine sitting on the rack. The coast was clear, so I reached for the magazine and flipped through it quickly to make sure it really was a magazine about trannies and not trannies. Satisfied, I handed it to the newsdealer and paid the exorbitant (for circa 1970) cover price of $3 (that's almost $22 in 2022 money).

As the newsdealer put the magazine in a brown paper bag and handed it to me, he gave me a dirty look. No fan of drag was he, but I did not care because I had in my hands something I hoped would expand my knowledge of the world that I seemed to be part of.

Drag never showed up on the local magazine racks, so I did not buy the magazine unless I was in NYC and could do so surreptitiously if I happened to have any company on those trips. As a result, I only acquired two or three issues of the magazine and cherished them until “The Great Purge of 1983,” when they went out to the trash with all my other girly paraphernalia.

Over the years, I saw clippings from Drag on various Internet places and I even saw complete issues for sale on eBay at exorbitant prices that I was unwilling to pay. But last week, Diana of Little Corner of the Nutmeg State fame, e-mailed me with some good news: complete issues of Drag were now available for downloading from Internet Archive.

So I plan to reverse “The Great Purge of 1983” and rebuild my collection of Drag.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Missoni

Delitto al Blue Gay
Femulators on stage in a 1984 Italian film titled Delitto al Blue Gay also known as Cop in DragDelitto al Blue Gay is jam-packed with femulators. You can view the film in its entirety on YouTube.


    I found myself in a three day full blown MANIC RUSH after a similar random encounter that I was not alone -- (NOT 'THIS'--my 'other thang').
    Then, there is the potential of the realization of a wave of 'self shame' or perhaps thinking one has 'outgrown it' and then realizing later, 'apri-purge' that you are indeed not.

  2. Thanks for those links. Sue x

  3. Wow Stana, a trip down memory lane. I lived in NYC in the '70's after getting out of college in the Midwest. Lee Brewster is an unrecognized icon in our community. I frequented his store. Hid the stuff till a purge etc. etc.
    I have one remaining Drag Magazine, and it is yours; simply because you are in the Polish sisterhood and are simply great.
    Email me your address to and I will send it to you.

    Angel Amore

  4. To add to your alliterative list Stana, how about:
    dudes in dresses
    hombres in heels (or hose)
    pals in panties

    Angel Amore

  5. What a shame you never had a chance to visit the "home" of Drag, Lee's Mardi Gras boutique, which was then located in a loft at the west end of the Times Square area, across Ninth Ave. from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. If the magazine was a revelation to you, the store would have been an epiphany!

    1. I have been to the Lee's magazine store, probably the only store to have
      transgender books and mags in the country. I mean thats all he had there.

      I actually met him on a few occasions, he was one of the founders of the Gay rights movement and was at Stonewall

      I use to pick up "the tranvestian" at a coffee shop in Morristown New Jersey

  6. In college, I nearly wore put the floor on the library where they had the old bound issues of Transvestia. I used to buy tabloids so I could read the occasional article about a transgender person.

  7. Have you noticed how drag queens have changed over the years? I quickly looked through one of the old issues. The majority of the queens were doing their best to appear as beautiful, elegant women. The majority of queens now present more like Bozo the Clown making a mockery of femininity.

    1. I call Ru Paul and her ilk "Clowns in Gowns." What a shame.

  8. When I was a kid I used to go into DC on a regular basis. My local streetcar route took me to the middle of downtown. Every few trips I rode to 15th Street, NW and went into the biggest newsstand in DC, right next to the RKO Keiths theater. That space is now occupied by The Old Ebbit Grill. In the back of the stand was an area of "select" magazines, several of which were focused on our CD/TG community. There was Drag and Transvestia, Virginia Price's publication. Until I found that newsstand the best I could do was the occasional lurid story in Confidential about transvestites. I had found a gold mine as far as I was concerned! Sometime while I was in college the newsstand closed.

  9. We're talking about a segment of the community. If you look at events like Miss Continental USA or others like it you'll find the more traditional CD/TG contestants. There have always been "showy" drag queens, and RuPaul, who can look the average NBA player eye-to-eye decided to head for the over-the-top side. Now she's a very good businesswoman and she saw an opening for more queens of her ilk and created the Drag Race. It's became a surprisingly popular show and one of the draws is who can be more over-the-top than the others. RuPaul doesn't mess with success and so the show goes on.

    We have the occasional negative comments about these queens, but they're a small percentage of the overall CD/TG community. The queens need to differentiate themselves from the other queens to get their following. But I think we need to keep in mind the fact that the public seeing RuPaul and her "girls" has opened both the eyes and minds of the general public. I've noticed over the years Mikki has been out and about, dressing to "blend in" but certainly not passing, that I get almost none of those "looks" we're all familiar with. When I go to a restaurant I'm treated like a lady and I don't see anyone gawking at me. When I go to the ladies room I'm treated like "the next lady in line" and don't get "looks" or comments. In fact, I always have ladies engage me in conversation -- and pretty much never about being a CD. I got great compliments on my sweater dress a week ago and the ladies were interested in where I got it -- at Venus. I am sure some of the acceptance of us has been influenced by people getting used to seeing people like us on TV.

    So I don't have any complaints about over-the-top drag queens. They're entertainers! The vast majority of us are not entertainers and dress to do our best to emulate cis women. We're in a different world than the drag queens. Some of our Baltimore drag queens are still the "old-fashioned" girls and some are over-the-top. It's all in fun, it's entertainment. Me, I love a good drag show and can marvel at the beauty of the queen doing the great Patsy Cline and the outrageousness of our local Pariah Sinclair. I tip them all, applaud all of them and love the diversity. Everything else has changed over the years, why should we expect the drag community to not follow suit?

  10. The first written evidence that ‘I was not alone’ was finding the entry ‘Transvestism’ in the family 2-volume Funk & Wagnall’s dictionary. Unfortunately this had pretty minimal content. In those early years, apart from odd columns in Sunday newspapers (usually reporting something salacious: ‘Blonde and Bosomy but They’re Blokes’), I came across little in the way of anything written or pictorial which covered ‘my special interest’. The first booklet was discovered by accident on a market stall when I was 18. It was ‘Reverse Sex’, a biography of Coccinelle. I guiltily bought it, read it then – inevitably – destroyed it. It was fascinating and I was amazed at the beautiful woman this character had become.

    Some years later I found a tatty – probably used – copy of an A5 magazine called Accord in a back-street shop in Glasgow. The content was divided equally between crossdressing and women boxing (or was it wrestling? – it was nearly 50 years ago!). This was quite a find and survived somewhat longer than the first booklet. More copies of this were discovered as well as, over the next few years, ‘Tranz’ and ‘The World of Transvestism’ – neither of which included anything involving fighting ladies! Every business trip to London usually included a detour to appropriate outlets: the purchases were enjoyed until the next purge when they were destroyed beyond recognition.

    Whilst in Glasgow I had access to the university library and discovered interesting articles in psychology journals - Robert Stoller was a prolific author covering crossdressing at the time - as well as material in the performing arts section.

    My one business trip to New York in 1982 enabled me to call in at Lee Brewster’s store and I managed to speak to Lee and buy one or two magazines. He mentioned a trans-friendly club - I think it was called the Grapevine – which I visited that evening and where I, for the first time in my life, met and talked to men presenting as women. The main thing I remember is the extortionate price of the beer! The only magazines I’ve kept from those days are a couple of copies of Transvestia. Little did we know then what we had in store with the World Wide Web!!

    Jenny Shaw