From grit to glamour, the kings and queens emerge


Putting on makeup and getting on stage helped Logan Hof become the person he is today.

Hof, known as Jessica on stage, is a student performer for the Drag Show.

The senior electrical engineering major, became interested in drag during his freshman year after seeing Brandonna, one of the regular performers, at the Drag Show.

“You put on the makeup and you put on the wigs and most of the people here don’t know who I am in the first place, so if I make a fool of myself, they don’t know me and it’s fine,” Hof said. 

SDSU held the third annual Drag Show on Nov. 3, sponsored by the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA). 

There were three to four professional entertainers who came from surrounding states and two to three student performers. 

The term “drag queen” comes from a mash up of “drag,” which started back in the theatre era with men dressing in women’s clothing — the term stands for “dressed resembling a girl.” And the term “queen” comes from an anti-slang word for an effeminate gay man, according to the web article “How Drag Queens Work.”

“Lines between man and women, masculinity and femininity is just a joke, and we are just going to blur that line and that is what it has always meant to me,” Hof said. “It’s not just about portraying a woman or portraying a man it’s just trying to have fun. So I have just seen it as to blur the line and make it nonexistent.”

Student performers gain the experience and knowledge of what performing on stage is all about. One of the professional entertainers who appeared at the Drag Show was Kamaree Williams.    

Known off-stage as Kamaree Harrison, Kamaree is a 24-year-old full-time entertainer.

“Tonight was fun, I really enjoyed coming here. This is about my third year coming here and it’s always fun to see everyone,” Williams said.  

Williams will have been in drag for four years in May. She first saw the entertainment aspect of drag after watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and wanted to be part of it ever since.

Williams wasn’t the only professional entertainer at GSA’s Drag Show. Tyler T. Love is a leather crafter by day and a drag and burlesque performer by night.

For Love, the passion for performing started when he went to a gay bar in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was amateur’s night and Tyler spent time practicing and ended up making friends with the queens. After that he started performing regularly.

At SDSU, Love said it is great working with amateurs or student entertainers because it gives them an opportunity to ask questions and reach out to someone for help.

“I know that when I was coming out, I didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to ask a lot of professional help,” Love said. “If I can offer that to somebody else I think that it is beneficial for everyone, even myself. Being of service is important.”

Love is a transsexual male. Transsexual means a person whose gender identity is different from their biological sex, who may undergo medical treatments to change their biological sex, often to align it with their gender identity, according to the International Spectrum LGBT Terms and Definitions. 

He knew that he was transsexual as he started performing. Getting involved with the LGBT+ community helped him explore his gender and help validate it, Love said.

In today’s world, drag shows are more associated with gay populations, though not all drag performers are gay. There are entertainers who call themselves a “female impersonator” or “illusionist” to describe their craft.

“A lot of people think of drag queens as men dressing up and performing as women, though for me it is more of an art form,” Williams said.

Drag performances and cross-dressing mainly existed as an underground culture during the 20th century. The visibility of drag queens increased alongside the LGBT+ communities in the late 1960s.

This occurred following the infamous Stonewall riots in 1969, according to “How Drag Queens Work.”

Even with the chance of legal repression, drag queen communities began to organize more formally in the mid-1960s.

Drag kings began to surface, though the history of the kings or “male impersonators” isn’t quite as in-depth as the drag queen counterpart.  

The practice took hold in the 1990s and is largely attributed to New York performance artist and transsexual Johnny Science, according to journal article, “Why act like a man?”

Science started organizing workshops to teach attendees about dressing like a man and putting on makeup to help transform themselves into a man.  

Williams reflected on her past and her transition to the person she is now. She doesn’t want anybody to feel rushed or pressured to figure out who they are. 

“Take your time, because I tried to rush who I was and it got messy. It wasn’t until I sat down and studied myself and my community because I didn’t know a lot of my community, the trans community,” Williams said. “I was the only ‘gay one’ at my school and I didn’t have anybody to go to. I would definitely suggest to take your time and find the group because once you are able to finally express who you are everything will start to fall into place.”