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Thursday 09 April 2009

"Help! My boyfriend's doing drag!"

Posted in: Family Matters
By - 25th October 2008

Jacquie Grant affectionately known as the "tranny granny", Jacquie's had a colourful life which has seen her go from being harassed by police and arrested on the streets of King's Cross in Sydney in the late 1950s, to a happier life in New Zealand, where she has fostered more than 60 children, and now has numerous grandchildren. Jacquie lives in Hokitika.

Bill Logan is a counsellor, celebrant, gay activist and revolutionist in his fifties, Bill's been on the Gay Helpline in Wellington since 1982, was a co-founder of the NZ AIDS Foundation, and played a significant role in the struggle for homosexual law reform.

Tom Hamilton is Rainbow Youth's Executive Director, and also has several years experience working within LGBT communities in Australia and the USA. Tom also has extensive knowledge about community law, support work and counselling.

Previous advisors include secondary school teacher Carol Bartlett, gay activist Jim Peron,"Out & Proud" ambassador AJ Marsh, ex Youth Coordinator for Rainbow Youth Rob Marshall and editor Jay Bennie.

If you have a question you'd like to put to our panel, please complete our

'Frocking up' started as a giggle for Trevor's man, but now it's happening every weekend. Can their relationship survive drag drama?'s panel gives their advice.

Hi there,

I'm 23 and my younger boyfriend has started going out dragged up on the weekends. At first it was a laugh and I supported him, but now it's getting to be a regular thing so I'm thinking I can't handle it. I don't want to be in a relationship with a drag queen. That sounds bad but that's how it is. So I wanted to check with people first in case its no big deal and I'm being selfish. Any advice you can give would help me decide what to do. Thanks.


Advice from Bill Logan:

This is really interesting, Trevor. You have a relationship, which is presumably pretty good most of the time, but somehow it feels spoiled for you by the clothes your partner wears one or two nights a week. Of course if you can't stand the drag, then you've got to get out of the relationship. But think about it. Aren't you curious about the situation?

Are you interested in what your partner gets out of the drag experience? Would you get anything out of trying it yourself? Does your partner turn you off when he's in drag? Have you told him that? How much does it matter that you are not sexually aroused at the times he's in drag? Or is the problem more about other feelings you have when you are out with him in drag? Does he get an unfair amount of attention? Or do you worry that his feminine appearance will make people question your masculinity?

Advice from Robert Marshall:

It can be hard to know what is exactly is happening in this situation.

Drag queens, simply, are men who dress up as women purely for entertainment purposes. Often accompanied by “high-camp” attitudes and outrageous but glamorous dresses, these ladies are no doubt some of the most colourful beings in the queer community. When they are out of Drag they tend to be normal regular Joe Bloggs, they can even be straight.

Attraction comes in many forms, Gay males are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually attracted to the people of the same sex. Look at last years NZAF's poster boy competition as an example, people were split into Party Boy, Bear/Cub/Leather, Boy Next Door/Regular Guy, Sportsman, Businessman/Professional, and Alternative. Communication is key. What do you feel like when he is dressed in drag? Express this to your boyfriend, hopefully you can compromise with each other.

And advice from Jacquie Grant:

Well Trevor I guess you must do what feels best for you and what you feel comfortable with. This issue has been faced by many gay boys and girls who are in a relationship where the other partner starts to exhibit transgender traits.

You will need to discuss this with your partner so you can work out whether this is just a bit of fun doing drag or is the start of something more serious.

Lets look first at the scenario that it's just Drag and he really is still just a guy having some fun and liking the attention it brings, maybe if he understands how you feel he may decide the relationship and your feelingsare worth more than ruining what you have together. There could be some compromise, like he only does Drag on special occasions and in return you support that just as you would expect him to support you in some activity you undertake.

The second scenario is far more serious, and you will need to exhibit a lot of sensitivity as well as being open about how you feel, you need to sit down with him and get it out into the open, you need to find out if he has feelings as a Transgender or Transsexual and if indeed either is true then I think you have a problem, the same one any partner faces when confronted with the person they love suddenly deciding they are going to change gender. As hard as it may be you will have to make the decision if you want the relationship to continue – and the chances are that you will want out, after all you are a Gay guy and as such are attracted to men not women.

All I ask is if this is the way the dice is rolling you be supportive and remain friends as it can be really hard for a young person suddenly discovering their Transexuality, so good luck to you both. - 25th October 2008