“It has no color, it has no gender, it’s gender bending”: Gender and sexuality fluidity and subversiveness in drag performance

Justine Egner, Patricia Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gender identity is a key question for drag performers. Previous research has shown a lack of consensus about the subversiveness and gender fluidity of drag performers. This article examines the question: How does the relationship between performers and their audience affect the subversive nature and gender representation of drag performers in this study? Furthermore, is this relationship complicated by sexuality? This study uses ethnographic and interview methods, examining experiences of 10 drag performers. Findings indicate mutuality in the relationship between performers and audience. The recursiveness of this relationship provides a constant feedback to the performers in their effort to displace the audience’s previously held notions. The performers have fluid understandings of gender and sexuality, often presenting multiple genders in and out of drag. Interactions between performers and their audience indicate their belief in gender fluidity; moreover, the drag performers themselves desire to be subversive and gender and sexually fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-903
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume63
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016

Keywords

  • Audience interaction
  • Drag king
  • Drag performance
  • Drag queen
  • Fluidity
  • Gender
  • Gender performativity
  • Sexuality

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