A Guide to Drag Show Etiquette

A Guide to Drag Show Etiquette
Hannah Dickson | Erika Della Cioppa

So you’ve found a venue in your area that’s hosting a drag show and you want to go see the magical, sparkly creatures that we call drag queens. Or maybe you’ve finally caught up on all the seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix and now you want to go see a live show! Either way, going to a drag show is a unique and wonderful experience! Use this guide to turn yourself into the ultimate drag audience member.

Photo by Charisse Kenion / Unsplash

Where and how do I find a drag show?

There are so many different types of drag shows of all different sizes, audiences, and venues. Here are a few options!

Lots of well-known queens will tour around the country and perform at larger venues. These tours are usually advertised on their social media pages, so if there’s a queen you really want to see live, check there!

Local gay bars almost always have drag shows throughout the week. These venues can be a great place to support your local queens and kings and meet queer people in your area. Try searching on social media (instagram, facebook, tiktok, etc.) or asking around in your friend group or community to find out where the go-to spots in your city are.

Virtual drag shows (and drag bingo!) have started popping up since the beginning of quarantine and are still happening all the time all over the world! Some are paid, ticketed events, and some are free on Facebook or Instagram live. Digital drag shows can be a great option for folks who live in small or rural communities that don’t have designated queer spaces that host drag shows.

Drag Show

How do I Make the Best Impression?

So, now that you’ve found a show to attend, how do you make sure you’re going to be a good audience member and you won’t get read for filth by a queen? Although this advice might not totally prevent that from happening, it’ll lessen the chances and help you make sure you’re having a good time.

Cheer and be loud: Hoot, holler, and clap for all the performers. It takes a lot of guts to get up on a stage, if you see something you like, let them know!

Tip: In the words of the legendary Alaska Thunderfuck, “Tip. These. Men.” From queens to bartenders, to the coat check person, if you’ve got a few extra dollars, support your local queers who are working hard to make sure you have a good time. Just don’t tip drag queens in change, coupons, or cheques made out to their stage name. You’d think this would go without saying, but it happens.

Keep your hands to yourself: Consent applies to all forms of daily life, including when you’re at a drag show. Unless you’ve been expressly invited, look but don’t touch!

It’s their performance, don’t try to pull focus: By all means, wear that extra outfit, the big and beautiful hair, be excited, and have a good time! Drag shows and queer spaces are a great place to be able to express yourself. But don’t forget that when a queen is on stage, it’s about them. So, cheer, tip, and be excited, but let them be the performers. Stay off the stage and if you really feel that deep desire to perform, ask around and see how you can start doing drag or maybe hit up your local karaoke spot after the show.

Support local: Don’t get me wrong, we all want to see Trixie Mattel, Asia O’Hara, Violet Chachki, and other RPDR stars, but don’t forget to support the drag queens in your community too! Drag queens aren’t just entertainers, they’re the keepers of queer history and community. Let’s keep queer spaces alive by supporting our local drag stars!

So there you go! A guide to attending your first drag show. Now go out, have fun and give gay people your money and adoration.

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