Dragman is a noun that refers to an individual who performs or engages in the art of drag, a form of theatrical expression in which a person dresses in clothing and adopts styles typically associated with the opposite gender. The term is a combination of "drag," which originally referred to clothing designed for wearing on stage by entertainers, and "man," denoting a male individual.
In the context of drag culture, a dragman is someone, often a male, who dresses and presents themselves in exaggerated feminine attire and makeup for the purpose of entertainment or self-expression. Drag performance can take various forms, from lip-syncing to live singing and dancing, with performers often adopting alternative personae to transform their appearance and engage with audiences.
Dragmen can be found in a range of settings, including theaters, clubs, cabarets, and drag competitions. They excel in creating and combining elements such as fashion, makeup, and mannerisms in order to create captivating and transformative performances. Dragmen are often celebrated for their ability to challenge societal norms and gender expectations, providing a space for creative expression and exploration of identity.
In recent years, drag culture has gained significant mainstream popularity through television shows, bringing greater visibility and acceptance to dragmen and other performers within the LGBTQ+ community. Dragmen play a vital role in spreading awareness, promoting inclusivity, and contributing to the rich tapestry of artistic expression.
The word "Dragman" has its origins in Middle English and comes from the Old French term "dragoman" or "dregamen". However, the ultimate etymology of this word traces back to the Arabic term "tarjuman" (ترجمان). "Tarjuman" means an interpreter or translator. It was borrowed into Turkish as "tercüman" and then into other European languages via the Ottoman Empire's interactions with different cultures and regions. In English, the term "Dragman" initially referred to interpreters serving as intermediaries between Ottoman officials and Europeans during the medieval and early modern periods.