Drag queen culture has influenced American culture for many years without most people realizing it. We should give credit to these queens for their impact on igniting the LGBTQIA movement, voguing and slang.
Drag queens played a major role in LGBTQIA history, particularity during the Stonewall riots. These riots are known as the start of the gay rights movement, and it can all be traced back to drag queens.
Queens Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera actively resisted arrest while defining the gay rights movement and starting the protest. These riots brought the gay community together for the first time in history. This critical moment revolutionized the coming LGBTQIA movements, while pop stars and everyday citizens began emulating “gay” attributes and attitudes.
Madonna brought voguing into mainstream media when her song “Vogue” sparked a dance craze and became the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. She won several MTV Video Music Awards and one American Music Award for her song.
All of this success can be attributed to the drag queens who inspired Madonna to bring voguing into popular culture, yet there is little to no recognition of where it all began. Voguing was originally started by African American drag queens from Harlem. They would create hand gestures to emulate the lavish poses seen in fashion magazines. Appropriately, the dance was named after one.
Even the slang words many people use today can be attributed to drag queen culture.
The slang phrases “shady” or “being read,” come from the world of drag.
Many terms used on drag shows or RuPaul’s Drag Race are very similar to the slang words people might use on a day-to-day basis. Drag queens have been using these terms for years, but the phrases have just now gained popularity recently thanks to Twitter and Instagram.
Stonewall Warehouse, San Marcos’ own gay bar, showcases drag queens in their full glory, where the popular lingo can be heard.
Ultimately, drag queen culture will continue to have a huge influence on American culture. It is time we give these queens more recognition, whether that be for starting civil rights movements or popular dance crazes.
-John Lee is a marketing freshman