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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight Male Cross-Dressers
 
  Cross DressingThough male Cross-Dressing is common historically, cross-dressers have often been misunderstood and maligned, especially in societies with strictly defined gender roles. Despite this disapprobation, cross-dressing entertainers have often been accepted and even celebrated in many cultures.  
 
 
  Two members of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is an all-male dance troupe that combines dance, cross-dressing, and comedy to both parody and celebrate classical ballet.
 
 
 
 
  BerdacheBerdache or, more correctly, two-spirit persons, occupy gender-variant social roles once common among Native American cultures. Contemporary investigators have documented their existence in 150 tribes for males, and roughly half that number for females.  
 
 
  Ray Bourbon (1892?-1971) was a legendary drag performer and recording artist who appeared in silent movies, vaudeville acts, Broadway plays, and, from the 1940s through the 1960s, performed across the United States in a gay nightclub circuit.  
 
 
  Charles Busch (b. 1954) is an actor, writer, and director who has distinguished himself through his virtuouso performances of "grand dame" characters and through his writing of dramatic vehicles for these roles.  
 
 
  Jon Epperson as LypsinkaJohn Epperson (b. 1955) is a talented actor and writer who has had an extremely successful career performing as the glamorous and hilarious drag diva Lypsinka, among other characters.  
 
 
  Cross-Dressing In LiteratureLiterary Depictions of Cross-Dressing often incorrectly conflate the male cross-dresser with the male-to-female transsexual, a man who has either completed or wants to begin a "sex change" operation. The medical change from a man to a woman is seen as a "cure" for the "problem" of cross-dressing.  
 
 
  Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead, 1945-1988) was a versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag. He became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.  
 
 
  Drag ShowsDrag Shows need say nothing about sexual identity, but they have been an almost institutionalized aspect of gay male culture for a long time.  
 
 
  Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990), an influential figure in experimental theater, was a writer and drag performer who is most remembered for his repertoire of self-penned solo plays based on the lives of the great women of history, literature, and myth.  
 
 
  The Chevalier d'´┐ŻonThe Chevalier d'Éon (1728-1810) was the most famous transvestite of the eighteenth century. The French diplomat and soldier lived the first half of his life as a man and the second as a woman.
 
 
 
 
  Harvey FiersteinHarvey Fierstein (b. 1954) is an award-winning playwright and an accomplished actor and performer. He began his acting career as a drag performer in New York City in the early 1970s.  
 
 
  The GalliThe Galli of ancient Rome were castrated priests of Cybele, the Asian Mother Goddess, and of the Syrian goddess Atagartis. They were widely ridiculed for their effeminacy, cross-dressing, and sexual passivity.  
 
 
  HijrasThe Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition. They are often defined as eunuchs whose emasculation ordeal is thought to confer special powers.  
 
 
  Magnus HirschfeldMagnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) was a pioneering German activist and sexologist. A cross-dresser himself, Hirschfeld coined the term "transvestite."  
 
 
  Barry HumphriesBarry Humphries (b. 1934) is a character actor, singer, writer, poet, and painter known principally for the stage personas he has developed. Of these personas, the most internationally recognized is Dame Edna Everage whose sheer force of personality has enabled her to achieve the status of "International Mega-Star."  
 
 
  A male Kabuki actor dressed as a womanKabuki is a classic Japanese theatrical form incorporating fantastical costumes, stylized gestures, music, and dance. Kabuki originally showcased female and boy prostitutes, but now features all-male casts.  
 
 
  Charles Ludlam (1943-1987) was an actor, playwright, and innovator in the "Theater of the Ridiculous." He drew on many elements of camp and farce, but never allowed them to obscure the seriousness of his themes.  
 
 
  Charlotte von MahlsdorfCharlotte von Mahlsdorf (1928-2002) was admired by many for her bravery in the face of persecution and for her openness as a transgendered public figure in East Germany. Her autobiography inspired Rosa von Praunheim's film I Am My Own Wife (1992). A Broadway play of the same name (2003) by Doug Wright, directed by Moises Kaufman, won a Tony Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and a Lambda Literary Award.  
 
 
  Miguel de Molina (1908-1993) reinvented the Spanish flamenco performance, but his open gayness and gender-bending stage persona provoked hostile reactions that plagued his career.  
 
 
  José Peréz Ocaña (1947-1983) was a fixture on the counter-cultural scene in Barcelona in the 1970s. The Spanish drag performer and painter was the subject of a milestone film in Spanish cinema by gay director Ventura Pons.  
 
 
  Charles Pierce (1926-1999) was a self-proclaimed male actress who took an aggressive stance against homophobia, believing that quick wit, a serious attitude, and consummate acting skill could vanquish oppression.  
 
 
  Virginia Charles Prince (1913-2009) was a pioneer in organizing social and support groups for heterosexually-identified male cross-dressers.  
 
 
  Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) is a legendary veteran of the Stonewall Riots. Rivera is notable for helping to spark the event that ushered in the modern-day Gay Rights Movement.  
 
 
  RuPaulRuPaul (RuPaul Andre Charles, b. 1960) is a six-foot five-inch tall African-American drag queen who usually performs in a blonde wig. He has given drag a new visibility by infusing it with gentleness and warmth.  
 
 
  Craig Russell (1948-1990) was one of the major female impersonators of the 1970s and 1980s and one of the last of the school that actually sang or spoke live in the voices of the ladies he impersonated.  
 
 
  Jose SarriaJosé Sarria (b. 1923?)--also known as "the Widow Norton"--is a San Francisco singer, drag performer, and activist who exemplified gay pride before the phrase was invented. As the founder of the International Court System, he presided over the expansion of drag culture into a vast network of charity balls and extravaganzas.  
 
 
  Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceThe Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is an organization composed primarily of gay men who appear publicly in drag, dressed as nuns.  The Sisters combine radical politics, street theater, and high camp and participate in a host of charity functions and political events.  
 
 
  Transvestism in FilmTransvestism in Film is often reduced to a mere joke, a harmless tease that tacitly reassures us that people can change their clothes but not their sexual identities.  
 
 
  Variety and VaudevilleVariety and Vaudeville and related theatrical forms featured cross-dressed acts, as well as routines that challenged prevailing gender constructions.  
 
 
  Ed WoodEd Wood (1924?-1978) was a transvestite film director who died a penniless alcoholic, but posthumously became the center of one of cinema's most enduring cults.  
 
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