Fooling the Heteros…
Vintage Drag Queens

I do love a good drag show, although I think the current trend towards exaggerated makeup, hair and clothing takes away from the simple beauty of a man dressed as a woman. Back in the day, the more realistic your drag costume, the better; acts like Bert Savoy and The Rocky Twins made their fame through their very realistic drag, and part of their appeal was their ability to fool the men in the crowd. They were less drag and more trans. I stumbled on some photos (which may or may not be photoshopped) of Victorian men in drag, and that led me to Queer Music Heritage, a website dedicated to female impersonators from the past. In its pages I found many gorgeous drag queens spanning the 20th century. Whatever we say about the kids today, our great-grandparents and grandparents were also up to something!

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Laverne Cummings

Barbette
Laverne Cummings
Julian Eltinge
Julian Eltinge
Bert Savoy
Bert Savoy
Adrian Ames
Adrian Ames
Chris Ames
Chris Ames
Barbette
Barbette
Barbette
Barbette
Bothwell Browne
Bothwell Browne
Bothwell Browne
Bothwell Browne
Gene La Marr
Gene La Marr
Chris Ames
Chris Ames

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Bobby DeCastro
Bobby DeCastro

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Frank Doran
Frank Doran
Frank Doran
Frank Doran
Frank Doran
Frank Doran

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Francis Russell
Francis Russell

fm2

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fm11

fm15

fm17

fm24

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fm88

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Nicki Gallucci
Nicki Gallucci
Gita Gilmore
Gita Gilmore
Walter Hart
Walter Hart
The Rocky Twins
The Rocky Twins

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Image15

images

Bobbie Janson
Bobbie Janson
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Freddy Renault
Freddy Renault
Freddy Renault
Freddy Renault
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Francis Renault
Walter Hart
Walter Hart

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The Rocky Twins
The Rocky Twins
The Rocky Twins
The Rocky Twins

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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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PatGeorge ClarkeMSTootie Keanuenue NefertootieBrian Cholewinski Recent comment authors
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Pat
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Pat

there is one wrong picture… a woman with PCOS and has a beard. She is no transvestite but what we refer to as “bearded lady”…

MS
Guest

This is a beautiful collection of photos. I think you should consider removing “Fooling the Heteros” from the title as it reinforces the myth of Trans Deception.
here’s some more info about that if you are curious.
http://transgriot.blogspot.ca/2007/11/theres-something-about-deception.html

George Clarke
Guest
George Clarke

good post.

Tootie Keanuenue Nefertootie
Guest
Tootie Keanuenue Nefertootie

Thank you Megan for presenting these pictures (varied as they are from the clearly promotional, to the documentary, to the artistic. Oh for a world of less megapixels we would be so grateful!) and your viewpoint that we’ve lost something in the art of drag, that of fooling men. Nay nay my little kitty, Drag comes in 31 flavors and there is a face and padded body for everytaste, including the men who dispence disbelief like a magicians audience that delights in being fooled. You mention the Rocky Twins, and counter with kara and Tara Dion, You mention Bert Savoy… Read more »

Brian Cholewinski
Guest

Jana Hill

Luna Tique
Guest

No Matt, but I’m all over it now. Love!!

Matt Centers
Guest

Luna Tique i sure hope you’ve seen this!

Louie Mulhern
Guest

Daisy Shayler-Webb

Krissy Pederson
Guest

So great. Love me some drag queens.

Somnambuliformic Necrocannibaloid
Guest

You have an error in the word “Queers”.