Skip to Content

Crossdressers VS Drag Queens VS Cosplayers

Crossdressers VS Drag Queens VS Cosplayers

Crossdressers, Drag queens, and Cosplayers have one thing in common, all three of them dress differently than the dressing that is considered normal and socially acceptable for them.

Crossdressers wear items of clothing that aren’t associated with their sex, Cross-dressing can be done for different purposes, for instance, comedy, disguise, or self-expression, moreover it’s used to this day and throughout history.

Drag queens are usually male and use drag clothing and bold makeup for the imitation or exaggeration of female gender signifiers and gender roles for the purposes of entertainment, moreover drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, however other genders and people of different sexualities perform as Drag too.

Cosplay, is a portmanteau (a word that blends the sounds and combines the meanings of two others, for instance, motel or brunch) of “costume play”. It’s an act or performance in which people participate, such people are called Cosplayers, these participants will wear costumes and different kinds of fashion accessories to represent a specific character.

The difference between Crossdressers, Drag queens, and Cosplayers is Crossdressers wear clothing that has no association with their sex, they do identify as the gender of their birth, but act like the opposite gender by clothing themselves as the opposite gender. Drag Queens are often gay men, who wear drag-styled clothing with bold makeup. Cosplay is a costume play, where people participate and wear costumes with fashion accessories to enact a specific character, Cosplayers can be of any sexuality.

Keep reading to know more.

What do you mean by Cross-dressing?

Cross-dressing is the act of clothing oneself as the opposite gender. Cross-dressing can be used to feel comfort, for disguise, for comedy, or for self-expression. The term “cross-dressing” refers to an action or behavior, but without implying specific causes for such behavior. Moreover, Cross-dressing isn’t synonymous with being transgender.

In the construction of Cross-dressing, society played its role by becoming global in nature. Trousers are used by women as well, as it’s no longer regarded as cross-dressing. Moreover, skirt-like clothing is worn by men, these aren’t regarded as women’s clothing, so wearing them isn’t seen as cross-dressing. As societies are becoming more progressive, men and women are adopting each other’s clothing culture.

As men cross-dressers wear clothes like the opposite gender, with that, they create a feminine figure, thus, most male cross-dressers will use various types or styles of breast forms. Such forms are silicone prostheses which are used by women who have undergone mastectomies.

What are Drag Queens?

A person sitting on a couch
Anyone can be a Drag Queen

A drag queen is a male, mostly, who uses drag clothing and bold makeup to enact female gender signifiers and gender roles to entertain people. Most people have misconceptions about Drag Queens that, only gay men can be drag queens, but in fact, people of many other genders and sexual identities can be called and perform as drag queens.

The first person who referred to himself as “the queen of drag” was William Dorsey Swann, who was a slave in Hancock, Maryland.

He started hosting drag balls in Washington DC in 1880 which were attended by other enslaved men, the place used to get raided by the police very often as well as get documented in the newspapers. Unfortunately, people weren’t as aware as they’re now, thus it was difficult to host such balls without raising an issue. In 1896, Swann was sentenced to 10 months of jail on the false charge which was for “keeping a disorderly house” (euphemism for running a brothel), and was requested a pardon from the president for hosting a drag ball, but the request was denied.

RuPaul is one of the most famous drag queens, his series called RuPaul’s Drag Race is enjoyed by people all over the world.

Here is a video where the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race talks about the history of Drag Queens.

History of Drag explained by Drag Queens

What do cosplayers do?

Cosplay is described as a portmanteau of “costume play”, which is a performance in which participants are called Cosplayers. They dress in costumes and fashion accessories to perform a specific character.

“Cosplay” is a Japanese portmanteau of the English terms costume and play. The term was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard when he attended the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Los Angeles. There he witnessed costumed fans and later wrote about them in an article for the Japanese magazine My Anime.

Cosplaying has become a hobby since the 1990s. It has made a significance in the culture of Japan as well as many other parts of the world. Cosplay can be called fan conventions, today there’re innumerable conventions, competitions, social networks, and websites on cosplay activities. Cosplay is quite popular among all genders, and it isn’t unusual to see such cosplays. Moreover, it’s referred to as gender-bending.

A person dressed as Raven from Teen Titans
Cosplay usually imitates a popular character

What’s the difference between a drag queen and a cross-dresser?

Crossdressers are primarily male and female, while Drag Queens mostly are gay men. A crossdresser is a person who clothes in the clothing of the opposite gender, this act can be done to feel comfortable, for disguise, for comedy, or for self-expression, whereas Drag Queens clothe in drag-styled clothing and do bold makeup to imitate gender roles to entertain people.

Here is a table to differentiate between Drag Queens and Crossdressers.

Drag QueenCrossdresser
Dresses in drag clothingDresses as the opposite gender
Dresses to performDresses to feel comfort
Drag Queens are mostly gay menCrossdressers are male and female
A brief table of the differences between Drag Queen and Crossdresser

Can Cosplayer Cross-dress?

Two people dressed as Jasmine and Aladdin
Cosplayers can cross-dress

Yes, you can cross-dress as a Cosplayer. There’re many cosplayers that represent a character of an opposite gender better than the same gender, thus a cosplayer can cross-dress.

Cosplayers are the participants of a fan convention, where they represent a specific character. People all over the world enjoy such conventions. As people dress as the character they are playing, there’s no limitation on playing a character that is of the opposite gender, because they will be dressing in costumes.

People come to the cosplays to watch the characters and not the cosplayer, meaning a cosplayer should represent a character that he/she can perform well, even if it means cross-dressing.

To Conclude

Decades ago, people weren’t as aware as they’re today about their sexualities or preferences. The world is filled with many types of people with different sexualities and preferences, for instance, Drag Queens and Crossdressers. Most people mix up terms as they’re not as aware, Cosplayer is the term that is mostly mixed up with Crossdresser, but if explained simply, there won’t be any mix-ups.

A person wiping their makeup off
  • Drag Queens are mostly gay men, but they’re people that perform as Drag Queens. They dress in drag clothing with bold and loud makeup to perform or imitate to entertain the people.
  • Crossdressers are the people who dress in the clothing of the opposite gender, mostly for comfort.
  • Cosplayers are the participants in fan conventions. They dress as a specific character to represent it in front of the audience.

Moreover, Cosplayers can cross-dress, because the audience comes to see the characters and not the cosplayers. Cosplayers should cross-dress as long as they’re good at performing the character which is of the opposite gender.

Decades ago, people had a hard time accepting Drag Queens, it was so bad that the first person who referred to himself as a Drag Queen and hosted Drag balls was sentenced to jail for 10 months, but today people love to see their performances.

Other Articles

Skip to content