#DRAG Survey: Drag Culture from the Outside

drag from outside 2

Polished, preened, experimental, alternative, panto – whatever it is, we love drag, and so do you. But that’s a given. With increasingly liberal attitudes to issues surrounding sexuality and gender, is the world of UK drag becoming more accesible and appealing to those existing outside of it’s fabulous parameters?

We devised a few simple questions to put to a cross-section people who have no direct contact or with the drag scene. We then put them in to pretty pictures (Click here for the full survey on infogr.am)  because ladies and gents, even data can be fabulous when tarted up a little.

Have us prudish Brits become a nation ready to welcome gender play into the mainstream? Are we secretly all glued to RuPaul and ready to experiment with a pair of chicken fillets? Read on for some interesting results.

Question one:


It seems that a majority – 80 per cent – of respondents willing to contribute to the discussion on the drag scene are women. Perhaps this is unsurprising considering when hitting drag venues and gay-friendly clubs you are much morelikely to find large groups of women than a bunch of lads. Does this mean women are still more confident than most men about being around more fluid definitions of gender and sexuality?

Question two:


We received a good range of ages in the responses to our survey: from teenagers to young adults, to the middle-middle aged. Our largest group of respondents were the young adults and middle aged brackets who made up 40 per cent and 35 per cent of the total respondents respectively. We received no feedback from anyone over the age of 50. I wonder if this is representative of a less tolerant outlook from the older generations, or whether they are just worse at checking their emails?

Question Three:

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 16.30.53

Interestingly, 100 per cent of our respondents were straight. So from this we can assume that they have limited experience of the LGBT scene as well as the drag circuit.

Question Four: 

Fans of drag culture?

It seems that the drag scene still remains unchartered territory for 65 per cent of  our respondents. Whilst 30 per cent are self-confessed fans and only five per cent have written themselves off as haters.

Question Five:

Watched drag performance

These people are missing out! A 60 per cent majority of our respondents have never been to a drag performance of any kind. This makes us wonder, is there more that could be done to attract some people to get involved in the drag scene? Or should drag culture stay contained by those who have a true passion for it? The figures certainly show that despite a lack of current experience, there are plenty of people – 45 per cent of the total surveyed – who are up for experiencing the UK drag scene.

Question six:


Of the 50 per cent of respondents who have experienced the joy of drag, the cabaret bar was the most popular venue, with 40 per cent of our respondents going to watch a performance there.  30 per cent caught a show at a gay club, 15 per cent at a gay pride parade, ten per cent at a local pub and five per cent even saw a show when on their holidays.

Question seven:


It seems that if you want to draw in the large numbers of drag virgins to your shows, a big name, good review and some scintillating burlesque ladies are the way to do it! We conquer.

Question eight:


How anyone could be indifferent to drag is something we find difficult to fathom, but nonetheless that is how the majority of our cross-section of the ‘lay population’ described their attitude to drag culture. Is it time to get more provocative? The opposite of love is indifference right? However 50 per cent of our respondents had only good things to say about the drag scene and less than 1 per cent admitted it made them feel uncomfortable.

It seems there is little residual hostile and animosity left towards the drag community, but that there are many who don’t have strong opinions either way. Perhaps it is because so many of our mostly female, heterosexual, 20-to-40 somethings are yet to experience the truly unique experience of a big drag night out…

Question nine:

do you watch drag race

We were surprised by this one, maybe it’s just because we’re OBSESSED with the show. Though Ru Paul’s Drag Race has definitely helped popularise – and glamorise drag, it still seems its reach is limited outside the drag community. A whopping 90 per cent of our respondents have never even seen the show!

Question 10

How much to drag up?

Final question, and it’s a bit of a silly one. We were shocked and excited to see that the vast majority of our drag virgins would gladly get dragged up for free. Well our very own #DRAG-er, Matt, certainly loved it!

So what do these results tell us about the current perceptions of the drag scene in the UK? Obviously we don’t want to generalise, but it seems that at least amongst our respondents – who are aged 20-50, majority female, and all straight – there exists very little negative feeling towards the  drag community and plenty of enthusiasm for the scene.

However, it seems that many have only had limited interaction with the wild and wonderful world of drag. Is it up to us all – the artists, club owners and enthusiastic fans to draw these people in? Or should drag be its own, self-defined art, which is not tailored to the whims and requirements of the general population?

As always we would love to get your thoughts! Tweet us @hashtagdrag, Email us: hashtagdrag@gmail.com and let’s get talking.


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