Drag: Art knows no gender.


Mason Montano

Me in drag as mx. retrograde. Talented, amazing, stunning, iconic.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

Drag is a style of visual and performance art that was created by Queer people to push the boundaries of gender through campy lip-sync routines and flamboyant makeup and costuming.

For decades, drag existed as an underground art form, but that would all change in November 1992 when American drag queen RuPaul found mainstream success with her debut single, “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, and in 1994, she was signed by MAC Cosmetics as the first ambassador for their VIVA Glam product line, making her the first drag queen supermodel.

RuPaul would later go on to become the most commercially successful drag queen in the world, and she currently hosts the 13-time Emmy-winning reality television series, RuPaul’s Drag Race, which invites drag performers from around the United States to compete for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and has become a worldwide phenomenon since its premiere in February 2009, launching drag even further into the mainstream and boosting the careers of many successful drag artists; such as Alaska Thunderf**k, Trixie Mattel, and Jasmine Masters.

In spite of its newfound visibility, many people still do not fully understand what drag is all about. When people hear the word “drag”, they think, exclusively, of drag queens and drag kings. A drag queen is commonly defined as a cisgender, gay man dressing as a woman, and a drag king is commonly defined as a cisgender, gay woman dressing as a man, however, drag cannot and should not be defined so narrowly.

Drag is an art form through which anyone, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, can freely express themselves and their creativity. For example: If you’re a cisgender woman, Queer or not, and dress in a hyper-feminine way, it’s still drag. If you’re a cisgender man, Queer or not, and dress in a hyper-masculine way, it’s still drag. If you’re transgender and/or non-binary and dress in either fashion, it’s still drag. The possibilities are endless because drag is open to anyone and everyone!

Drag also has no rules. You can make yourself look masculine, feminine, androgynous, or not even human at all and still be doing drag. The ways in which you do your makeup, wear your hair, style your outfits, and perform are entirely up to you and you alone. No one has the right to tell you how to do drag because there is no right or wrong way to do it!

I’m non-binary, and when I do drag, I’m not trying to look like a “man” or a “woman”. I want to look like a cartoon character — free of all labels — and I make use of whatever clothes and materials that are available to me because everything is drag.

So don’t be afraid to drag up your life because, as RuPaul says, “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag”.

Mason Montano
mx. retrograde represents my creative spirit.

This article was originally published in November 2019 and later revised in April 2020.