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February 16, 2016

Men Dressed in Drag in the Victorian Era: 25 Historical Photos of Drag Queens From the 1890s and Early 1900s

Men dressing in women’s clothing has been going on pretty much since the dawn of time, with reports of “cross-dressing” dating as far back as ancient Rome. Although, it wasn't until the 20th century that the term “drag queen” came into popular use.

The word ‘drag,’ most scholars agree, refers the drag that came with hoop skirts, a popular lady’s style back in the day. But, as these images will attest, nothing was too over the top for these crossdressing trailblazers.

A line, however, was drawn when it came to public demonstrations of drag. When Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton shocked London society by daring to walk out in public as “Fanny and Stella,” there were still no laws preventing them from doing so. As a result, they, and others, were frequently charged with “the abominable crime of buggery.” Almost immediately, homosexuality would be firmly planted in the minds of people of that era as synonymous with drag.



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