Recently I had a number of people ask some questions about the T stripe on the rainbow vs drag... So I thought I'd give some simple definitions and basic information. This is not an exhaustive resource.
What's the Difference Between Transgender People & Doing Drag?
To quote one of my characters: Areva from Illusions & Dreams
“You dress up to be a girl on stage! But I dress as a woman because that’s who I am!”
The Transgender 101
Transgender Person: An individual’s gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
*Transman was assigned female at birth but identities as male.
*Transwoman was assigned male at birth but identities as female.
Why do we say “assigned sex at birth”? The doctor can not assign gender at birth only sex (physical). A doctor looks between a babies legs and makes a judgment call: boy or girl.
1 in 100 differ from the standard body
1-2 in 1000 have surgery as infants to “normalize” the appearance.
Distressing: Imagine someone who didn’t know you decided you didn’t look text book enough so they took a knife to your genitals. This still happens TODAY.
Another reminder: an individual who is transgender may or may not feel the need for any kind of affirmation surgery.
Drag Performer: A person who dresses up to perform as the opposite sex.
*Drag Queen male performing as a female
*Drag King female performing as a male
Some performers are just having fun.
Some are getting in touch with the feminine side.
Some do it as a challenging art form.
Some do it as a way to explore their gender fluidity (identifying as both male and female)
Some are exploring who they are (Many of the Drag Kings I know are also transgender and dressing in drag was their way of exploring it.)
Ladyboy: An individual who dresses as a woman but retains a penis. In Asia many ladyboys perform in clubs or work in stereotypical female jobs.
*The word ladyboy in the West is not appropriate but in Thailand it’s a title the performers I met aspire to in the clubs. Many retain the energy of both sexes.
Most of the ladyboys in Thailand I met were transgender but were afraid to get lower affirmation surgery (even if they wanted it) because they would no longer be eligible to work in many of the clubs. Most of them save up and get breast enhancements. And many live as women outside of the clubs.
Some drag performers are transgender.
Some transgender people have done or do drag.
Everyone is unique. Expression of sexuality and gender is can be very individualized.
((I’d be remiss by not suggesting if you were interested in reading about two very different transgender people who happen to work in a Ladyboy Club you might enjoy Illusions & Dreams. It’s a romance with two different stories and it is based on my experiences in Bangkok)).