The Stonewall Riots

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Drag has a rich history in society, and it was not always pleasant history. Before the 1960s, drag was essentially used for theater purposes back in the Shakespearian age, because women were not allowed to act in productions, so men dressed as women. In the 1960s however, there were around 500 drag queens actively working in the United States. Drag at that point was completely underground and taboo, as most of LGBT community was. The turning point of the LGBT rights movement was the Stonewall Riots in 1966 at the Stonewall Inn in New York. The Stonewall Inn was one of the few gay bars that existed at the time. Police raided the bar, trying to arrest any effeminate, gay men, and a six day riot ensued, and drag queens were the face of the people who fought against the police. Because of this, drag…show more content…
However, at this point, thousands of queens existed in America, in more organized events. Drag balls within the African American community were popular at this time, and changed the influence of drag as an art and a culture. Drag ball culture was highlighted in the pivotal documentary, Paris is Burning, which displayed drag as more of a contrived art, and less of just something that men do as a hobby. This humanized drag queens, which is a far cry from the 60s, when drag queens were hunted down for doing the things that were eventually praised in a documentary, like swirling and twirling down the catwalk in Prada. The documentary showed the intricate processes of getting into drag, the cut throat measures taken to win the high stakes balls, and the horrors and tragedies of being in the LGBT community. Throughout the history of drag, there have been positives, and violent negatives, but most importantly, there have been some key players in making drag as accepted ad mainstream as it is

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