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Drag Performers
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Ashley, April
Outed as a transsexual in 1961, the indomitable April Ashley rose from poverty to become a glamorous entertainer and top model who married into the British aristocracy and later became a transgender activist.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Combining dance, cross-dressing, and comedy, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo both parodies and celebrates classical ballet.
Bentley, Gladys
African-American Blues singer Gladys Bentley openly flaunted her lesbianism in the 1920s and 1930s, but recanted in the 1950s in an attempt to salvage her career.
Bourbon, Ray
Legendary drag performer and recording artist Ray Bourbon 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.
Busch, Charles
Actor-writer-director Charles Busch has distinguished himself through his virtuouso performances of "grand dame" characters and through his writing of dramatic vehicles for these roles.
Cabarets and Revues
Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.
Caja, Jerome
San Francisco visual artist Jerome Caja is known for his small, sensuous combinations of found objects, which he painted with nail polish, makeup, and glitter, as well as for his drag performances.
Charke, Charlotte
Actress and writer Charlotte Charke was known for portraying male characters on the eighteenth-century English stage and for cross-dressing in private life.
Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead)
A versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag, Divine became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.
Drag Shows: Drag Kings and Male Impersonators
A recent arrival in the drag arena, drag kings are part of an international drag movement that emerged in London and San Francisco in the mid 1980s.
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Eichelberger, Ethyl
An influential figure in experimental theater, writer and drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger is most remembered for his repertoire of self-penned solo plays based on the lives of the great women of history, literature, and myth.
Epperson, John
Talented actor and writer John Epperson has had an extremely successful career performing as the glamorous and hilarious drag diva Lypsinka, among other characters.
Fierstein, Harvey
Actor Harvey Fierstein has had phenomenal success as both a performer and a playwright, and has been steadfastly committed to the cause of glbtq rights.
Garbo, Greta
Mysterious, aloof, occasionally androgynous, actress Greta Garbo ignited the passions of men and women alike.
Hindle, Annie
The first woman to gain significant attention as a male impersonator in the United States, vaudeville performer Annie Hindle created a stir when she married her dresser, Annie Ryan.
Humphries, Barry
Barry Humphries, a character actor, singer, writer, poet, and painter, is known principally for the stage personas he has developed over a long career.
Inman, John
Acclaimed comic actor John Inman gained international fame for his endearing portrayal of the fey salesman Mr. Humphries on the television series Are You Being Served?.
Kemp, Lindsay
Mime artist, renegade, and magnetic stage performer, Lindsay Kemp has long had a cult status in alternative theater.
Ludlam, Charles
An innovator in the "Theater of the Ridiculous," actor and playwright Charles Ludlam drew on many elements of camp and farce, but never allowed them to obscure the seriousness of his themes.
Mitchell, John Cameron
While he had already achieved recognition as an actor, the multiple talents of performer, writer, and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell came to wide public notice in 2001 with the release of his prize-winning film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Molina, Miguel de
Miguel de Molina reinvented the Spanish flamenco performance, but his open gayness and gender-bending stage persona provoked hostile reactions that plagued his career.
Ocaña, José Pérez
A fixture on the counter-cultural scene in Barcelona in the 1970s, Spanish drag performer and painter José Ángel Pérez Ocaña was the subject of a milestone film in Spanish cinema by gay director Ventura Pons.
Pierce, Charles
Self-proclaimed male actress Charles Pierce took an aggressive stance against homophobia, believing that quick wit, a serious attitude, and consummate acting skill could vanquish oppression.
RuPaul (RuPaul Andre Charles)
A six-foot five-inch tall African-American drag queen who usually performs in a blonde wig, RuPaul has given drag a new visibility by infusing it with gentleness and warmth.
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