It would be impossible to write about gay cultural practice—as I’ve done in my new long-form piece “What Was Gay?” which is live in Slate today—without discussing drag. The art of gay men transforming themselves with paint, wigs, and padding into a uniquely queer take on the feminine is as old as the identity group itself, and yet it has always been controversial, as anything that challenges the gender binary must inevitably be. Indeed, certain segments of the LGBTQ community reject the practice as a threat to gay masculinity or as a misogynistic affront to women; but I am of the school of thought that sees drag—and the critical thinking about self-presentation that it encourages—as foundational to a gay way of being in the world.
So with that in mind, I called on Outward contributor and drag artist Miz Cracker to join me for a discussion about gayness and drag’s place in it. And then we decided that if I wanted to talk seriously about drag, I’d better experience it for myself—an experience Cracker was more than happy to facilitate. No more Halloween-store facepaint for me … this time, Fancy Peachtree, my very occasional drag persona, would receive a proper realization. I hope you enjoy meeting her as much as I did.