Travestie geschiedenis

Travestie is sinds de 19e eeuw een vast onderdeel van de homocultuur, waarin talrijke travestieartiesten of dragqueens zijn die optreden in homo-uitgaansgelegenheden en bij homo-evenementen. Vroeger was het theater een vrijplaats voor travestieten (wat in veel culturen is nog steeds het geval is)


In pantomime plays that are traditionally adaptations of fairy tales and performed around Christmastide, the role of lead male was once commonly played by a principal boy—a young, attractive, female. This practise has fallen out of favour recently, with popular male television and pop stars taking these roles. Conversely, the role of a pantomime dame, a middle aged woman played by a man for comic relief, is still one of the mainstays of the Pantomime.
zie ook pantomime

In the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, pantomime dames became a popular form of female impersonation in Europe. This was the first era of female impersonation in Europe to use comedy as part of the performance, as opposed to the serious Shakespearean tragedies and Italian operas The dame became a stock character with a range of attitudes from "charwoman" to "grande dame" that was mostly used for improvisation. The most famous and successful pantomime dame was Dan Leno. After the World Wars, the theater and movie scenes were changing and the use of pantomime dames was on the decline.


Development of the drag queen in America started with the development of the blackface minstrel show. Originally the performers would only mock African American men, but as time went on they found it amusing to mock African American femininity as well. They performed in comedic skits, dances, and "wench" songs. Far from the progressive freedom of modern drag, these minstrel shows and their "wench players," were used by white men to both mock and oppress both women and African Americans.

Rollin Howard in wench costume

Rollin Howard (1840 - 1879) was a minstrel performer, best known for his female blackface impersonations. Howard was born as Ebenezer G.B. Holder in New York City around 1840, and appeared in minstrel productions from approximately 1860 to 1870. He appeared in other dramatic performances both before and after his minstrel period. After the American Civil War, female impersonators became more common in minstrel shows, and Howard was considered one of the leading performers in such roles, along with Francis Leon and Eugene d'Amelie. Among songs that Howard performed, he was credited with "arranging" on one of the first sheet music publications for Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me in 1869.[3] The song was extremely popular, and though the exact authorship is not clear, at times Howard has received some authorship credit.

The broad comedic stylings of the minstrel shows helped develop the vaudeville shows of the late 1800s to the early 1900s. With this shift, the "wench players" became "prima donnas", and became more elegant and refined, while still retaining their comedic elements. While the "wenches" (jonge meiden) were purely American creations, the "prima donnas" were inspired by both America and European cross-dressing shows, like Shakespearean actors and castrati. With the United States shifting demographics, including the shift from farms to cities, Great Migration of African Americans, and an influx of immigrants, vaudeville's broad comedy and music expanded the audience from minstrelsy With vaudeville becoming more popular, it allowed female impersonators to become popular as well. Many female impersonators started with low comedy in vaudeville and worked their way up to perform as the prima donna. Famous female impersonator Julian Eltinge found success in this and eventually made his way to the broadway stage performing as a woman. At this time being a female impersonator was seen as something for the straight white male, and any deviation was punished. Connection with sex work and homosexuality eventually lead to the decline of vaudeville during the Progressive Era. Both the minstrelsy and vaudeville eras of female impersonation led to an association with music, dance, and comedy that still lasts today.

Music Hall

In Music Halls traden male impersonators op zoals Mme Celeste, Jeanne Bourgois  (Mistinguett) (1875-1956),Minnie Tittle Brune, Annie Hindle (ca 1847-19??), Ella Shields (1879-1952), Maud Adams, Hetty King en Ella Wesner

Drag shows
A drag show is an entertainment consisting of a variety of songs, monologues or skits featuring either single performers or groups of performers in drag meant to entertain an audience. They range from amateur performances at small bars to elaborately staged theatrical presentations. Many drag shows feature performers singing or lip-synching to songs while performing a pre-planned pantomime, or dancing. The performers often don elaborate costumes and makeup, and sometimes dress to imitate various famous female singers or personalities. Some events are centered around drag, such as Southern Decadence where the majority of festivities are led by the Grand Marshals, who are traditionally drag queens.

Night clubs

Drag balls

Tegenwoordig is RuPaul's Drag Race een bekende talentenjachtshow voor drag queens. Deze wordt sinds 2009 op de Amerikaanse televisie uitgezonden en vormde wereldwijd een impuls voor de showtravestie. Onder meer in Amsterdam ontstonden hierdoor diverse zogeheten "drag-huizen". Dit zijn kleine groepen van jongere travestie-artiesten onder leiding van een ervaren oudere "drag-moeder". In Amsterdam waren er in 2015 ongeveer 10 van dergelijke drag-huizen, met het House of Hopelezz als bekendste voorbeeld. In New York bestaan zulke drag-huizen al enkele decennia, waar ze vooral opvang boden voor arme zwarte homo- en transjongeren.

The Takarazuka Revue is a contemporary all-female Japanese acting company, known for their elaborate productions of stage musicals. Takarazuka actresses specialize in either male or female roles, with male role actresses receiving top billing.

zie ook


Rudolf Dekker & Lotte van de Pol. Vrouwen in mannenkleren; De geschiedenis van een tegendraadse traditie;

Drag queen

Bekende Dragqueens


Dragqueens in films

Bars en nachtclubs

Historische crossdressers


Female impersonators



Transgenders in de media

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