GAY '90S

PHOTOS: O.G. 19th Century Drag Queens Show Today’s Queens How It’s Done

The fashionable folks over at Hint magazine recently compiled some amazingly awesome images of 19th century men dressed in drag.

Now, we’re not 100 percent convinced that some of these images haven’t been photoshopped, but they look pretty darn legit. Either way, we love them. There’s something absolutely fabulous about a man from the gay ’90s dressed in full-on Victorian lady garb.

Of course, men dressing in women’s clothing has been going on pretty much since the dawn of time, with reports of “cross-dressing” dating as far back as ancient Rome. Although, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the term “drag queen” came into popular use.

According to some sources, the exact origin of the term “drag queen” is unclear, but it could derive from Elizabethan slang (quean referring to a strumpet), or from the fact in the early 20th century, female impersonators were a common entertainment act at extravagant “drag balls,” which served as a precursor to the drag shows that would later become associated with gay bars and nightclubs around the time of the World Wars.

Scroll down to see some O.G. 19th century drag queens serving all kinds of fierceness to the camera.

















h/t: Hint Fashion Magazine

Related stories:

PHOTOS: Our Victorian Grandfathers of Gay Porn (NSFW)

The Fascinating Case Of Fanny And Stella, Two Gay Men Who Shocked Victorian England

PHOTOS: A History Of Man-On-Man Affection

Graham Gremore is a columnist and contributor for Queerty and Life of the Law. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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    Hmm, Gives a whole new meaning to the term “The Gay Nineties” :p

    PS: #10 down looks suspiciously like Pat Robertson, just how old is that hate filled old talking skeleton????

  • dcguys

    Don’t tell me how stupid I am, or ask me how I can consider myself a gay man but … would someone please tell me what “O.G.” stands for in this article? Once again, I have no clue. I’m sure I’ll make myself feel bad enough when you tell me what it is.

    Elsewhere…I enjoyed the pics! It’s good to see those hard-working men ‘letting their hair down’ or in many cases, putting it up.

  • RevJames

    @dcguys: I’m not in the know but for me it is Oh God! I think these photos are ripe for a caption competition!

    1. Nice pelt!

    2. Fans? I have TONS of fans!

    3. Hello, Hello…. Victoria? I have a secret!

    4. 3 of these and you won’t even FEEL the beard!

    5. Heads….. and shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes….

    6. What do you mean it’s fine now but in 1942 the ‘stash could be problematic? This look is TIMELESS!

    7. What do you mean? What’s a Hipster?

    8. I’LL tell YOU if the banister shakes! Just take the shot!

    9. Go ahead, say something. Just say something.

    10. Pullleeese! I am so passing! Say that again and I’ll smash your balls!

    11. Which one of these things is not like the other?

    12. If I am chosen I will use my title to bring Peace to the whole world! And feed the children…

    13. And if you pull THIS chord his head turns.

    14. You mean “man hands” is a thing?

    15. Do you think you might have to much time on your hands Reverend?

  • Sebizzar

    Hahaha I LOVE this! I’m surprised they were even allowed to do this back then :o

  • Designermax

    I too, like so many who have seen this, love IT! In an era when even the slightest gender non-conformity was shunned and most likely worse, I’m amazed these people got away with it, that includes the campy married couple with infant on Pappa’s lap.

    Being a fashion designer by trade: You can tell by the way the bodice hung over the guys’ chests in Images #3 and #5, those gowns were custom made for those men. Who did they get to so bravely make those dresses for them?

    That could have technically gotten them arrested back then.

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