Isn't It Queer
“The drag phenomena is out of control – there’s a female impersonator on every street corner in New York. Bums and blind men with pencils in tin cups are doing drag. It’s got to stop.”
— Bruce LaBruce
I was around when Jim first started out doing drag, back in the 8Os. I remember how much work and effort everyone put into each performance they gave. The glitter, beauty and talent these kids had was breathtaking to me. I was so proud to be a part of it all. Everyone treated me with so much respect and love, it made me feel so special!”
— Mrs. Jean Stevenson
In 2003 drag entertainment has become decidedly gay, with many of the performers and much of the audience members of the local queer communities. Revues featuring both drag kings and queens are now regularly presented in the gay clubs in Saskatoon and Regina by talented amateurs. Many of the performers are members of the Imperial Court System, represented in Saskatchewan by Regina’s Imperial Court of the Golden Wheat Sheaf Empire.
Despite the key role played by drag queens in the 1969 Stonewall Riots (the spark that ignited the gay rights movement), the relationship between gender impersonation and gay politics has often been difficult. Some early activists were opposed to performances that seemed to equate male homosexuality with effeminacy and some lesbians viewed drag as misogynistic. In the 1970s drag shows were specifically prohibited at Saskatoon’s Gay Community Centre. Gay politics has now reclaimed drag as a visible means of expressing one’s ‘queerness’. Drag proclaims a disinterest in being tolerated or accepted if the price is conformity to the lives of dull and normal straight men and women.