2012 State of Drag Survey

A statistical look at the lives of drag queens.
November 16, 2012

(Titania Steele)

There is always more than meets the eye when it comes to a drag queen—and we don’t just mean what lies behind the tuck! But after hearing our fair share of stereotypes and assumptions—often from queens themselves—we wanted to get a real image of who the average drag queen is. We spoke with 60 queens and asked them to share details of both the drag business and their personal lives. Some results were predictable, some surprising, but together they provide us an interesting portrait of the ever-evolving gay art form in the year 2012.

*Not every person survey answered every question. Because of averages, not all percentages will add up to 100.


 

Age:
60+: 2%
50-59: 9%
40-49: 20%
30-39: 24%
20-29: 36%
18-20: 9%

How did you first get into drag?
I was putting on heels as a kid: 41%
Went to a party dressed in drag and it stuck: 26%
Was convinced to do it by a friend: 18%
I’ve always dressed in drag: 14%

What adjectives describe your look? (from most common answer to least common answer)
Glamorous, Sexy, Classy, Androgynous, Campy, Dark, Fishy, Pretty, Cunty, Feminine, Fierce, Flawless, Fun, Gender fuck, Glitter, Nun, Over the top, Real, Clown, Diva, Dominatrix, Fashion forward, Girly, Goth, Punk, Scary, Slutty, Sophisticated, Unique, Vintage 

Do you currently perform in a nightclub, bar or cabaret?
Yes: 55%
No: 45%

How many nights a week do you go out of the house dressed in drag?
7: 4%
6: 2%
5: 8%
4: 16%
3: 16%
2: 20%
1: 35%

On average, how much do you get paid per appearance?
Less than $50: 24%
$51-200: 35%
$201-$500: 20%
$501+: 20%

On average, how much do you spend on each outfit? 
$800: 2%
$400: 2%
$250: 3%
$200: 7%
$175: 2%
$150: 7%
$120: 2%
$100: 22%
$90: 2%
$80: 3%
$75: 7%
$60: 2%
$50: 12%
$40: 5%
$35: 2%
$30: 8%
$25: 3%
$20: 3%
$15: 2%
$10: 3%
Average: $105

What is the most expensive part of your drag wardrobe?
Dresses: 40%
Makeup: 27%
Wigs: 20%
Heels: 13%

How many different outfits do you have in your repertoire?
500: 3%
400: 3%
300: 2%
280: 2%
200: 3%
150: 2%
115: 3%
100: 8%
90: 2%
80: 2%
50: 10%
45: 2%
40: 8%
35: 5%
30: 5%
25: 7%
20: 8%
10: 5%
5: 12%
Average: 79

Do people recognize you out of drag?
Yes: 49%
No: 51%

Do you feel more or less shy when you are in drag?
I feel more confident in drag: 57%
My confidence is the same in or out of drag: 43%

Do you feel sexier when you are in drag?
I feel sexier in drag: 58%
I don’t feel sexy in drag: 13%
I feel just as sexy in or out of drag: 28%

Have you ever been mocked or insulted because you were in drag?
Yes: 71%
No: 29%

Have you ever been in a physical altercation while in drag?
Yes: 32%
No: 68%

Has drag in the last 10 years changed for the better?
Yes: 73%
No: 13%
Same: 13%

Do you consider other drag queens friends or competition?
Friends: 95%
Competition: 5%

Has RuPaul’s Drag Race been good or bad for the drag community?
Good: 55%
Bad: 10%
I’m indifferent on the subject: 35%

Who is the most important drag queen of all time? (from most mentioned to least mentioned)
RuPaul, Divine, Leigh Bowery, Charles Pierce, Jackie Beat, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The girls from Stonewall 1969, Christine Jorgensen, Dame Edna, Erica Andrews, Jim Bailey, Joey Arias, Lady Bunny, Linda Simpson, Mother Flawless Sabrina, Sharon Needles, Sylvester

Do you drink?
No: 14%
Every now and then: 49%
One night a week: 5%
Only when I’m working: 25%
Every night: 7%

Do you smoke cigarettes?
No: 61%
Every now and then: 17%
Only when I’m working:  2%
Every night: 20%

Do you consume illegal drugs?
No: 67%
Every now and then: 31%
Every night: 2%

Have you ever been propositioned to have sex for money while in drag?
Yes: 54%
No: 46%

When you are in drag do you think of yourself as a woman or as a man?
Man: 40%
Woman: 60%

Has drag been an exploration of your gender identity?
No: 29%
At times: 38%
Yes: 33%

Would you consider yourself:
Male: 73%
Female: 10%
Other: 17%

Are you in a relationship with:
Man: 29%
Woman: 7%
I’m not in a relationship: 64%

Have you ever had sex while still in drag?
Never: 45%
Once: 15%
<5: 10%
>5: 28%

I live with:
Alone: 39%
Roommates: 32%
Parents/siblings: 10%
A spouse: 19%
 

Photo/Artwork: