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A drag queen is a person, usually male, who uses drag clothing and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate female gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Historically, most drag queens have been men dressing as women. In modern times, drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, but they can be of any gender and sexual identity.
People partake in the activity of doing drag for reasons ranging from self-expression to mainstream performance. Drag shows frequently include lip-syncing, live singing, and dancing. They occur at events like gay pride parades and drag pageants and in venues such as cabarets and nightclubs. Drag queens vary by type, culture, and dedication, from professionals who star in films to people who do drag only occasionally.
Generally, drag queens dress in a female gender role, often exaggerating certain characteristics for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. Other drag performers include drag kings, who are women who perform in male roles, faux queens, who are women who dress in an exaggerated style to emulate drag queens and faux kings, who are men who dress to impersonate drag kings. A bedroom queen is a drag queen who mainly does their drag at home in the bedroom rather than publicly.
The term drag queen usually refers to people who dress in drag for the purpose of performing, whether singing or lip-synching, dancing, participating in events such as gay pride parades, drag pageants, or at venues such as cabarets and discotheques. Alongside traditional drag work such as shows and performances, many drag queens engage in 'mix-and-mingle' or hosting work at night clubs or at private parties/events. Drag is a part of Western gay culture; it is often noted that the Stonewall riots on June 27, 1969 in New York City were inspired and led by drag queens and, in part for this reason, drag queens remain a tradition at pride events. Prominent drag queens in the gay community of a city often serve as official or unofficial spokespersons, hosts or emcees, fund-raisers, chroniclers and community leaders.
A rice queen is a gay male who prefers or exclusively dates East Asian men. The term is considered gay slang and depending on the context, may be considered derogatory and offensive internationally.
The term rice king is used to describe heterosexual males who seek Asian women.
Yellow fever denotes the attraction certain non-Asian individuals may have for Asian men or women.
Bean queen or rice and bean queen are terms used in the English-speaking gay community to refer to a person, usually a white male, who is primarily attracted to Hispanic and Latino males. One source describes these as "Gay men who are attracted to gentlemen of the Latino flava."
The term is probably derived from the better-established term "rice queen", substituting the rice that forms the basis of the Asian diet with the beans or rice and beans popular throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Other food-based variations such as taco queen, salsa queen and so on are heard occasionally.
Refried beans refers to Hispanic and Latino men who prefer other Hispanic and Latino men.
Much less frequently, these terms are used to describe gay Latino males themselves.
A potato queen is a person who prefers or exclusively dates Caucasian men. Often, but not always, it is an Asian man who prefers white men.
One who prefers to masturbate partners
One who prefers to burn partners with cigarettes &c and/or vice versa
A curry queen is a white Caucasian man who exclusively prefers to date South Asian (Indian, Pakistani etc.) men. Curry is the Western term for a wide range of spice-heavy dishes typical of South Asian cuisine.
A dairy queen is a black or Hispanic male who prefers or exclusively dates Caucasian men. They are also known as snow queens. The phrase probably nods to the chain of restaurants bearing the same name.
A size queen is a gay male who prefers or exclusively dates or has sex with men who have large penises or large build.
Opera queen is a gay slang term for gay men who love opera. The term inspired the title of the book The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire by Wayne Koestenbaum, and opera queens are, more generally, the subject of Mawrdew Czgowchwz by James McCourt.
Gym queen refers to gay men who are into bodybuilding and working out either to bulk up and may include steroid use or those looking for a more lithe physique. Although body building and male physique magazines were popular before the 1970s, the Castro clone look — workboots, jeans, tight white T-shirt, shorter well-kept hair, and a well-muscled physique — became widely known and emulated in the 1970s and 1980s replacing the hippie artistic constructs and fashions.
Queen bee is a gay slang term for the dominant member of a group of gay men. It is normally synonymous with the word "bitch". It is unclear whether the term is taken from the term applied to the leader of a female social group or literally from the insect world.
A mashed potato is a Caucasian person who prefers or exclusively dates other Caucasian men.
According to Charles Isherwood in The New York Times, "Show queen is, of course, the technical term for a person, of either gender and any sexual orientation, who is inordinately fond of Broadway musicals." Although a "reviled" gay stereotype in the past, many LGBT activists influenced by queer politics have sought to reclaim the stereotype in a positive way.
The first known use of "queen" to describe homosexuals in literature was penned by Dante (Purgatoria 26:78), in the early 14th century AD.
An early example of this usage of the word "queen" in modern mainstream literature occurs in the 1933 novel The Young and the Evil by Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler: "While waiting Karel wet his hair and put his handkerchief smeared with mascara behind a pipe. You still look like a queen Frederick said..."
"Artificial Energy", the opening track from The Byrds' 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers is an upbeat song about the effects of amphetamine use, but the lyrics take an unexpected dark turn at the end when the narrator reveals that he's landed "in jail 'cause [he] killed a queen."
The Pink Floyd song from 1979 album The Wall, "Waiting for the Worms", contains the line "Waiting, for the queens and the coons and the reds and the Jews". The Kinks song from 1970, "Top of the Pops", contains the line "I've been invited to a dinner with a prominent queen..." and may be one of the earliest recorded examples of this usage. Their 1966 song "Little Miss Queen of Darkness" may be an even earlier reference, though more ambiguous in its possible description of a drag queen "accidentally met" in a discotheque, whose "false eyelashes/ were not much of a disguise..." and who was "not all that it might seem..."
The name of famous British rock group, Queen, can be seen as a reference to LGBT slang. According to singer Freddie Mercury, he "was certainly aware of the gay connotations" when suggesting the name, although, as he admitted, "that was just one facet of it".
- The Rice Queen Diaries, author Daniel Gawthrop (2005, Arsenal Pulp Press) — ISBN 9781551521893
- Ayres T (1999). China doll - the experience of being a gay Chinese Australian. Journal of Homosexuality, 36(3-4): 87-97
- Ghostlife of Third Cinema: Asian American Film and Video Glen M. Mimura, pg 141, U of Minnesota Press, 2009; ISBN 978-0-8166-4831-3, 9780816648313.
- Ptown: Art, Sex, and Money on the Outer Cape Peter Manso, pg 55; Simon and Schuster, 2003, ISBN 978-0-7432-4311-7, ISBN 978-0-7432-4311-7.
- Lambda online "rules of attraction" Archived March 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Misadventures in Boyland Archived October 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang by Paul Baker
- Dictionary of Sexual Terms
- Dictionary of Slang & Euphemism (Spears 1987)
- "Size Queen". Archived from the original on 2014-04-12.
- The Castro: San Francisco neighborhoods PBS documentary.
- Isherwood, Charles (September 14, 2004). "Upfront Political Artist Taps Inner Show Queen". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- Clum, John M. (1999). "Something for the Boys: Musical Theater and Gay Culture". Modern Drama. 43 (4). Archived from the original on 2006-11-11.
- http://www.italianstudies.org/comedy/Purgatorio26.htm - verse 78.
- Girodias, Maurice, The Olympia Reader, New York: Grove Press, 1965, excerpt from The Young and The Evil, Ford and Tyler p.208.
- "Kinks Song List". Archived from the original on 2013-12-07.
- "Queen Biography for 1970". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
- Spanish language glossary of gay terms. Mainly in Spanish but with English definitions.