"Queens," or men who defy gender norms and dress as women, have always been present in the LGBTQ community and pop culture. Their journey has been long, but as a society we have progressed to a level of acceptance which has unfortunately not always been a part of our culture.
We acknowledge that not every person in the photos below is a 'drag queen,' and that there's a big difference between a transgender person, a transvestite and a drag queen. A transgender person is someone who does not identify with their assigned sex and would most likely not want to be referred to as a 'drag queen.' A transvestite is a cross gender male who enjoys wearing women's clothing. A drag queen tends to be someone who dresses in women's clothing more for performance or entertainment.
1) The etymology of the phrase "drag queen" is debatable, but many scholars believe that the phrase was coined in the 1800's as a reference to the hoop skirts
2) 1800's: The term "queen" was used as a derogatory slur towards homosexuals
3) 1800's: Brigham Young's son, Brigham Morris Young, made a career in drag performing as Madam Pattrini. Supposedly, his falsetto was so convincing, many did not know he was a man.
4) 1800's: A man and woman with switched outfits. One can presume this is more for a lark than any other purpose
5) In the 1800's, "drag queen" becomes more specific: any men who dress as women in a theatrical and professional setting
6) 1800's: Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton shocked Victorian London when they dared to leave their home as "Fanny and Stella."
7) 1800's: Because no law specifically forbade "cross-dressing," men found in women's clothing were usually arrested for "the abominable crime of buggery" or for prostitution!
8) 1883: Drag was perfectly acceptable as a theatrical device. In fact, it was still more respectable for a man to play a woman in drag than a woman to pursue a career as an actress
9) This photo features a 19th century student dressed in drag for pure amusement. You may think that he'd get punished for such behavior, but this man went on to be a well-respected Estonian judge and held rank in the Livonian Knighthood
10) 1800's: This photo shows that drag was not as taboo as it would eventually become