The Truth Beneath The Layers of
on Drag queens and cross dressers
By: M.J. Rahahleh
Drag queens usually spark the word ‘divine’ right into someone’s mind, glittery lavish entertainment shows and sparkling funny glamorous world class performances, but behind all those clothes, feathers and a makeup, lays a man - shockingly in some cases, a straight man.
So what’s the difference between a drag queen, and a cross dresser? They both have the act, the makeup and the clothes on! But there’s one huge difference, drag queens do it for fun only, as a stage act, while on real life they’re ordinary people, no makeup or feather involved, but cross dressers take it as a way of life to represent their true identity rather than just putting up a face to fit whatever performance is up next, although drag queens always love to be referred to as a female and be treated as a ‘she’ but that’s not related at all to the true identity part, it’s a part of fitting in the persona of the show.
Lots of drag queens rose up the ladder of fame, such as the famous drag queen Miss Understood; she appeared many times on TV and movie performances. And they have their own views about being a drama queen, for example, American drag queen RuPaul once said ‘I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs, and skintight dresses?’ He also said, ‘I don't dress like a woman; I dress like a drag queen!’ Celebrity drag couple “The Darling Bears” go so far as to sport full beards for their performances.
Some performers draw the distinction that a female impersonator seeks to emulate a specific female celebrity, while a drag queen only seeks to create a distinctive female persona of his or her own. For intense, Lebanese comedian drag queen Bassem Feghali has rose to fame in the early 2000’s when imitating singer Sabah. Then he went on to impersonate many Lebanese and world female celebrities such as Nawal Al Zoughbi, Haifa Wehbe, Shakira and Nancy Ajram. And having his own show “Alf Wayle Bi Layle" that airs on the LBC TV during Ramadan, where he imitates different Arab female celebrities each night.
There’s another kind of ‘queens’ also, the faux queen (bio queen) is a "drag queen trapped in a woman's body’ or, in other words, a female-female impersonator, that sounds awfully complicated but the scene of faux queens is growing especially in L.A. where a yearly pageant is held to choose the ‘Faux Queen of The Year’ in the famous Trannyshack.
Men that perform as drag queens are sometimes straight, and that creates a great deal of problems and struggles to go through, for example compatibility and fitting issues especially if the performer has a girlfriend, being a drag queen isn’t easy for gay people in the first place, with the makeup, pantyhose, dancing, showing off and singing, it’s very hard to keep up an act, so imagine it for a straight guy to do it!
But one thing is for sure, it’s never about the outside looks, but if it was, those queens would whoop any royal butt in the world, glam and showing it! And we can’t get enough of those royals; either drama queens or drag queens!
The Sensation of Selissa
She was first seen on a Saturday drag queen night in RGB in Amman (now closed) sometime in 2008, lip-synching on Elissa’s song “Ayami beek”, twisting her feet and quavering her upper lip, just being the Silly Selissa she is (<left & up). But not far then, she started to adjust to her new stage persona Selissa, known as Um Zohdi, started doing in-house shows (private invitations), where you have to be one of the crème de la crème of the gay community to attend those private, worked on shows, where TV made commercialized adds are included between sessions, and greetings from Bassem Feghali himself are screened, not to mention the live performance. From Ahlam and Dana, to Gaga and Pink, Selissa knows her way to the audience’s smile. People usually go up to greet her on the good show, with the big help of the producers that she used to work with. She did her last show “The Final Leap” in October 09. She stated that the “Final Leap” was her last show she’ll perform, at least for a while. Still yet, she is one of the first Drag Queens in Jordan. Selissa also made the cover My.Kali.mag in June 2009 (Issue 17).