As aforementioned, attitudes towards drag performers vary widely over the centuries. In the dawn of Drag, its association with homosexuality was nil. Today, one cannot be a drag performer without automatically being labeled a homosexual.
Eddie Izzard is a popular stand-up comedian. Characterized by his flamboyant performances, he has made a name for himself as one of the most acclaimed transvestite performers of the age. Eddie Izzard is straight. You heard me, S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T. Then, why the get-up? Magnus Herschfeld, the coiner of the term “transvestite” is, himself, disappointed with the phrase. He found in his studies that males who preferred to dress as females covered nearly every end of the transgender spectrum. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike were both reported to partake in acts of transvestism. Psychological distinctions are at the root of this gray area known as Transgender. It is in these distinctions that we find the differences between the terms “Transgender” and “Transsexual.” A “Transgender” is, simply put, a person who refuses to conform to the gender binary in any amount of expressions. A “Transsexual” desires to be accepted as an alternate gender contrary to what they were born into. Izzard, for example, may fall under the umbrella term, “Transgender” for partaking in acts of “Transvestism” (e.g. cross-dressing), however, he does not lie in the category, “Transsexual,” because he sexually identifies himself as a heterosexual male.
The gaps are far and wide in the studies of Transgenderism. And there is a lot of room for misinterpretation. It is important that we approach the world of Drag with this in mind. A Drag Queen may or may not be a gay man. The act of performing in drag may or may not be for personal sexual identification. It could simply be a matter of entertainment. Whatever the motive, Drag has found a niche in queer society. It is a means of expression. And no matter how that expression may come out, we, as a global audience, owe it to them to take it seriously.