Wigs, Lipstick, and Outcry: Drag Queen Activism from 1970 to 1983 in the United States

Olivia Austin and Professor Susie Steinbach History Hamline University 1536 Hewitt Ave, St Paul MN 55104

This research aims to understand the drag community and its relationship to political activism and the lesbian and gay community in the 1970s and early 1980s. I aim to answer the following questions: What was the relationship between the drag community and the lesbian and gay community from 1970 to 1983? What was the relationship between drag political activism and gay and lesbian political activism from 1970 to 1983? Was drag political activism marginalized? If so, why and how? Transgender and drag queens were at the forefront of activism in the 1960s during the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot and the Stonewall Inn Riots. Recently, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera brought more attention to the critical transgender and drag queen activism by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Still, there is little academic research on other drag queen activism historically outside of Stonewall and Compton’s Cafeteria. I conducted archival research at the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota. To conduct my research on drag queen activism, I examined a magazine titled, Drag. In my research, I found that after Stonewall, there was a rise in drag queen activism with the creation of the Queens Liberation Front and their efforts to legalize cross-dressing, but the gay and lesbian community often ostracized them. The magazine, Drag overall helped build the drag community and provided them with resources. Drag was essential to the drag community because many individuals could not find others without Drag bringing them together, allowing them to be themselves.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Olivia Austin

Institution: Hamline University

Type: Poster

Subject: History

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5152