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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    In an upcoming campaign my character concept is a drag queen, and I just want to make sure that I am portraying those who participate in that respectfully, and not rely too much on steriotypes.
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Watch a lot of drag queens, and ideally even drag kings, and make sure it's a wide variety. This helps avoid stereotyping.

    Secondly, remember that drag monarch's don't spend all their time in drag.

    Finally z talk to your group about it. At the end of the day unless you're playing in front of an audience it doesn't matter if the world at large takes offence, but that nobody I the geoup does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    I have many personality traits. Make sure that is only one of your character's. Also don't push it.

    Also consider If I play an obnoxious gym rat who constantly flexes and is spandex in your face about my exercises and your need to exercise or be square, it may offend or annoy folks.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    A character that happens to be a drag queen is fine

    ....


    A token drag queen is not (usually)


    Much like with evil; character first labels second

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    1) Watch a few seasons of RuPaul's drag race or similar.

    2) Realize drag as a performance plays on stereotypes and exaggeration.

    3) Realize that completely inoffensive drag is hence an oxymoronic concept. Whether or not your performance is seen as offensive depends on good faith on part of the audience.

    4) Realize people who are approaching you with good faith won't hang you by the nuts for minor errors.

    5) Realize people who aren't approaching you with good faith will be offended by you playing a drag queen, period.

    So, who is your audience? Who are you afraid of offending? Why?

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    *Looks at your character sheet as dm*

    Everyone you meet laughs hysterically at you upon sight

    "What? Why?"

    "You never purchased a razor."


    Seriously, there is a huge chance someone gets upset. Personally, I wouldn't care. My character, my portrayal. Good luck with the character.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    If you have fun, your GM approves, and your table is cool with it, you're good. If not adjust.
    I don't really see why it would be more complex than that.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    I'm curious: why? What will being a drag queen add to your character?

    I've had two friends who wanted to play transgender characters to explore themes of identity and discovery.
    Neither of them are trans, but they approached the subject with good intentions and tried to be respectful and informed.

    I don't think it's possible to guarantee that you won't offend anyone when you're representing (1) a group that you do not belong to and (2) that group has had to put up with a lot of hostility/opression/etc.
    But...I'm not sure that's a reason to avoid it, I guess? It's a little tense and uncomfortable. So let it be. Acknowledge that it's hard, do your best, and apologize if you misstep and try to learn from it?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quixotic1 View Post
    I'm curious: why? What will being a drag queen add to your character?
    What it could add to any character is representation. It helps some role play when they are playing a visually similar character.

    Is that happening here? Probably not. In the end it is a detail that matters as much as weight, height, gender and (occasionally) alignment.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Watch a lot of drag queens, and ideally even drag kings, and make sure it's a wide variety. This helps avoid stereotyping.

    Secondly, remember that drag monarch's don't spend all their time in drag.

    Finally z talk to your group about it. At the end of the day unless you're playing in front of an audience it doesn't matter if the world at large takes offence, but that nobody I the geoup does.
    Good advice here, especially the last bit. That being said, I would NOT ignore the first point, even if no one in your group cares if you're being offensive. I'm sure everyone here has said something they thought was innocuous and inoffensive, but ended up being quite rude to someone who doesn't feel the same.
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Heh. Yellow Dancer, anyone?

    However, as others have said, watch a lot of drag queens.

    Have a drag style. Are you clearly a man in drag, are you more fishy, or are you somewhere in between? Yellow Dancer, for example, was a straight-up female impersonator... no one knew she was Lance Belmont, REF Intelligence operative.

    Have a drag persona... who you are in drag... and a non-drag persona. These are obviously going to be related, but there should be touches that make them distinct.
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    In an upcoming campaign my character concept is a drag queen, and I just want to make sure that I am portraying those who participate in that respectfully, and not rely too much on steriotypes.
    I dunno, get involved in the movement, try it out for a while and get a feel for the lifestyle?

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Think about why they do drag.

    Is it an expression of their inner self? An alternate persona to help them cope with difficulties in life (such as being a non-het person in a world where it might be shunned)?
    Is it political?
    Are they drawn to the artistry of it?
    Is it a way for them to explore their own gender-identity? Or express gender-identity?


    Many drag artists do drag for different reasons. So it's absolutely something worth checking out if you want to explore drag artists. RuPaul's Drag Race has some of the most mainstream and well-known drag artists to the public, but there's also many more who aren't in the public spotlight. Drag has also inspired mainstream things (such as Divine inspiring Ursula in The Little Mermaid).
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Do you know any Drag Queens? Drag Queens are meant to be offensive and provocative. They are deliberately trying to get a reaction. If you aren’t being offensive you’re just a guy wearing a dress.

    The important thing is that they’re not DQs all the time. The DQ is a persona they put on for a performance.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    There's a great podcast called Queens of Adventure (warning, NSFW) which is about a party of drag queens playing drag queen characters in a 5th edition campaign. You'll get quite an education on drag characters in a tabletop setting there.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    With all respect, from an old player and DM, the only limit you got is what can be supported by your group and your DM.

    And more positivelly, is you idea FUN to play in the long term, wich is the real issue.

    Being offensive is a relativelly vague question, the most basic things could be seen as offensive by at least some people.

    (Cultural appropriation, european fantasy seen as the glorification of 'white oppressive culture', fantasy races seen as racism, stupid debate about 'dark elves', sexy armor tropes...................)

    Here in 'old europe', RPG players lived through several vague of small 'witch hunts', where players were linked by the press and sometimes political/religious parties to some nasty incidents (suicides, murders, extremists, cults...).

    The very practice of pen and paper RPG was somewhat seen as somewhat 'offensive' and clubs have been closed by schools, places refused by municipalities for conventions, and parents been warned about the 'dangerous activities. Bullying ensue.

    The general concensus among players and DM had been 'Fu**k that s**t', we can't pleased everybody' and we just keep doing what we loved, the best way we can.

    And we tend to see the actual 'politically correct' tendency as a new way to do an old thing = to tell us what we can do about our passion. And once again: 'f**k that s**t'.



    => So, as long your game is fun, and well accepted by your group, there is nothing wrong about it.

    Footnotes:

    Now, if you can't det rid of the fear of being offensive, i can advise you another European game 'In Nomine Satanis' (created afted one said RPG 'Witch Hunt') where you play undercover Angels/Demons fighting on earth (the american version is totally different)

    ... to the demon part, i don't think that there is any 'evil' stereotype that hadn't been played, used and abused with total glee. A very fun game, with very good scenarios and campains.
    Last edited by Oliver; 2021-08-25 at 04:22 AM.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    And more positivelly, is you idea FUN to play in the long term, wich is the real issue.
    Yeah, this is the issue with many concepts. Sere the thread about the character who references storytelling conventions, most replies are saying that it works better played seriously than for comedy, partially because the joke gets old.

    (Cultural appropriation, european fantasy seen as the glorification of 'white oppressive culture', fantasy races seen as racism, stupid debate about 'dark elves', sexy armor tropes...................)
    Urgh, don't remind me. I think there's a good point butried somewhere far underneath the discussions, something about inclusivity and respect in published books, but it just gets lost as both sides find new things to shout about.

    And I'll say it again, the sexy armour isn't the problem, what we need is sexy armour equality.

    Now, if you can't det rid of the fear of being offensive, i can advise you another European game 'In Nomine Satanis' (created afted one said RPG 'Witch Hunt') where you play undercover Angels/Demons fighting on earth (the american version is totally different)

    ... to the demon part, i don't think that there is any 'evil' stereotype that hadn't been played, used and abused with total glee. A very fun game, with very good scenarios and campains.
    I find that the American version is good, but almost certainly for digfferent reasons. Sadly I cannot find a group willing to play demons trying to bring about the apocalypse (presented in the scenario I came up with as just as morally right as fighting for the world's survival, because I wanted to explore such ideas).

    Sadly I can't speak French, so I can't try the original version.
    Last edited by Anonymouswizard; 2021-08-25 at 08:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Some more specific guidance for you:

    As Faily mentioned, people pursue drag for a lot of reasons and in a lot of different ways. Some are performers and artists, for some it's more of a personal journey and expression. Some specialize in impersonating specific celebrities or personalities they admire, some invent/actualize their own personas and use those, some view the persona as closer to their authentic selves than how they present otherwise, and many permutations in between. Some play with gender trappings and tropes, some target those that are commonly seen as opposite or subversive to ones they might otherwise be associated with, some approach a blended view, and some reject the concept of gender entirely.

    I imagine however that for the benefit of your (primarily non-drag I assume, or else this thread probably wouldn't exist) audience of players, you'll want to skew towards a more mainstream representation of what people think of when they hear the term "drag queen." That means the version you'd typically see in Hollywood movies and shows like Drag Race - by this narrower definition, a "drag queen" could be defined as a performer who typically identifies or at the very least just presents as male when "out of drag", who then through the use of make-up, prosthetics and clothing alters that presentation to incorporate more traditionally feminine traits to varying degrees. While "in drag" they use the trappings and accessories associated with that persona to provoke, entertain, and model.

    Assuming all of the above, a drag queen character could credibly exhibit the following traits:
    - Drag persona with different gender presentation than their non-drag persona - with the "queen" term in particular being traditionally associated with some degree of M2F transformation.
    - A focus on flamboyance, opulence, showmanship and extravagance, especially while in persona.
    - Investment in one or more performance skills - dance, singing, comedy, and oratory among others.
    - Fashion modeling aesthetics and mannerisms, including runway/catwalking, variety of outfits, and matching accessories such as jewelry, hair/wigs, heels, makeup, and nails.
    - Prostheses aimed at enhancing the perceived fidelity of their persona's body/silhouette, such as breastplates, hip and posterior pads, tucking, and cinches.
    - A degree of extroversion and affinity for the spotlight and putting their two cents in even when not the group's primary focus, at least while in persona.

    Again, the bullets above are a more narrow (and gradually deprecating) expression of what it means to be a "drag queen" - but for a mainstream audience, incorporating those elements into your character through mundane and/or magical means will result in a character that will likely resonate with the moniker in their eyes.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    In an upcoming campaign my character concept is a drag queen, and I just want to make sure that I am portraying those who participate in that respectfully, and not rely too much on steriotypes.
    I really would reconsder this character concept. I don't see it ending well. Unless there's a drag queen at your table it's unlikely you'll offend anyone but still, if you think the territory is fraught then don't go there.
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    If it is just for show and giggles, you can treat them like any other form of entertainment. More often than not, non sexual drag queening around is just to try yourself out in traditionally female attire and behaviours. It is as much self exploration as it is entertaining. But yes, have the character out of drag too. Give them a backstory, a family, friends and maybe a goal, some personality beyong "lol im a drag queen".

    One example I'll just pull out of my behind now features a part of Golarion dear to me. The Darkmoon Vale. It is filled with small backwater towns usually set up by an evil Lumber Consortium. For the typically male lumberjacks they even do human trafficking. The towns are basically a cesspool of misogyny, toxic masculinity and cut throating. Imagine if a lumberjack wants to quit his contract with the Consortium (they pay horribly but you only notice that AFTER you're in debt in bum**** nowhere). They COULD dress in drag, and try to get some of the preferential treatment the "girls" of the brothel get. Maybe they even are the "madame" of the local establishment, so in the context of this, it is simultaneously a disguise, a performance (not every use of it is busking "toss a coin to your drag queen") and a personality trait that is linked into the area and character.

    It can lead to funny moments, it will follow with inevitable drama (when the enforcers find him and injure him or take him back to be bullied by his kindred), it could even sprout some sexual confusion in the characters. The thing is, usually the topic of gender and crossdressing pulls up everything you have written or read about your setting's gender stereotypes. It will require you to know that, plus know the real world context of drag queens as well. Plus if any player gets uncomfortable, you have to have a way to bow out of it (asking people if they are okay with a bit of gender identity stuff is good, asking about drag directly will just have them guess every other NPC).

    Last but important sentence. Drag is a very sexual topic, but if your table is not mature enough to deal with it, leave that out or implied (think One Piece if you know it; it has a few drag and crossdressing characters but it almost never is sexualized).

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    I'm going to put down a few more details now that the game is starting upm the idea is a biologically male character, who identifies as a man, is extremely flamboyant, amd prefers to wear what would typically be considered woman's clothing. perhaps drag queen was not the ideal term to describe this, but these details were developed in part witb your feedback.
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    I'm going to put down a few more details now that the game is starting upm the idea is a biologically male character, who identifies as a man, is extremely flamboyant, amd prefers to wear what would typically be considered woman's clothing. perhaps drag queen was not the ideal term to describe this, but these details were developed in part witb your feedback.
    Transvestite? Although I don't believe the flamboyance is covered by that.

    My previous post still remains my advice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Look up Eddie Izzard - he might fit your bill
    Last edited by hifidelity2; 2021-09-22 at 09:21 AM.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by hifidelity2 View Post
    Look up Eddie Izzard - he might fit your bill
    Important note: Eddie recently came out again as genderfluid. They do it every few years as people keep forgetting.

    Although I believe she defaults to female.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    In an upcoming campaign my character concept is a drag queen, and I just want to make sure that I am portraying those who participate in that respectfully, and not rely too much on steriotypes.
    My take. Just play the dang thing. As long as it's fun and entertaining and you are not making it too serious it's likely no one else will either. It's usually when people take things seriously that they start to find offense.
    Last edited by Frogreaver; 2021-09-24 at 09:11 PM.

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it’s really not a big deal if your dwarven barbarian happens to enjoy wearing frilly dresses. I mean, if you already get a bonus to AC for being unarmored, you might as well do it in style. You don’t really need a reason to do it in your backstory other than wanting to feel pretty, because people IRL don’t need elaborate origin stories to justify wanting to wear pretty dresses.

    On the other hand, if another player at your table happens to be trans or crossdresses and is not out with your group, encountering a clumsy cartoon version of themselves could really suck. That kind of risk is an inherent part of identity tourism. I’d suggest floating the idea with your group before you commit to the character.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How to play a drag queen without being offensive?

    I would draw inspiration from historical cross dressers and overly flamboyant fantasy characters such as Kefka from Final Fantasy….

    I’d play them as eccentric at best or outright mad at worse depending on how their story progresses, I’d go with Chaotic Neutral, I can see them being some sort of magic/psionic user and perhaps they are the product of a warlock pact that robbed them of their original “normal” personality….

    Hell, roleplay it right and your DM may even exempt you from having to make sanity checks.

    Note this is how I’d play a drag Queen/King… not how you should. Basically this whole archetype is someone who is so far gone past obeying established social constructs that dressing in the opposite gender doesn’t phase them.

    Can it be seen as insulting, maybe, but it’s not overly malicious and it seems like a fun character to play with plenty of room for growth for experimentation.

    If you prefer to play something that heavily emphasizes the “drag Queen” element, I’d recommend creating a bard, probably one trained as an actor in a troop. In actual medieval and even classical western history, women were not allowed to be actors, as such all female roles were played by men. Perhaps acting troops in your world also follow this societal expectation? A flamboyant bard who enjoys dressing up in costumes of both genders and entertaining crowds can easily be considered a “drag Queen”
    Last edited by paladinofshojo; 2021-09-27 at 09:48 AM.

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