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Drag and Pronouns

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Pronouns and drag can some times get confusing. When someone performs in drag, the accepted etiquette is to refer to them by the opposite pronouns. So a woman in drag would be a "he," and a man in drag would be a "she." That in itself isn't too confusing.

The confusion comes more from when they are out of drag. Most drag queens, especially ones who have been performing for a while, are normally referred to by their drag name whether they are in or out of drag. So now you have a man not in drag being referred to by his drag name. This is not too confusing when their drag name is a little off-the-wall, but when their drag name is some "normal" female name, it can get confusing, especially if you are out socializing with a bunch of queens not in drag.

Picture this: Columbus, Ohio, Union Café, a group of guys out in public, and the majority are referring to each other and answering to female names.

Now, if you knew they are drag queens, it would make sense, but if you didn't, you would be like, "WTF?" In situations like this I never know what name to use. Half the time I can be heard using their boy name and drag name. I will say a lot of drag queens are so used to their drag names that sometimes they don't answer to their boy name. This has happened to Vivian more and more when I'm trying to talk to her at home.

My favorite is the conversations I have about my drag queen friends or husband with others not in the drag community. I can be heard switching back and forth between "he" and "she" when referring to Vivian or other queens in the same sentence sometimes. I also find myself referring to Jeff by "she" or "her" even if I'm discussing him in 100-percent non-drag ways more often than not. Sometimes I think to myself, "Did I really just refer to my husband as a woman?"

Then there are the situations where people have no clue what a drag queen's real name is and only refer to her by her drag name. I actually find this quite funny and have noticed lately more people call Jeff "Vivian" than call him "Jeff." There is no disrespect meant by this; it's just that they know Jeff as Vivian, and Vivian is a "she" to them. I guess in some ways it's a compliment; it means Vivian is a good illusion. Or maybe it is a sign that he has arrived as a drag queen. It could also just mean he is in drag way too much. Who knows, to be quite honest?

Welcome to the crazy world of drag and pronouns.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on Diary of a Drag Queen's Husband.