From the Archives: Drag is a Christmas tradition


corrupting christmas tradition etcetera etcetera
Maxwell Carew dressed for a 1922 Sydney show (The Daily Telegraph) & Etcetera Etcetera dressed for a 2019 Sydney show (Facebook)

Kirralie Smith, spokesperson for Binary which “exists to challenge the aggressive agenda to de-gender our society” this week complained about “another example of corrupting Christmas.” Smith’s complaint centred on Sydney performer Etcetera Etcetera who this December continues the age-old Christmas tradition of performing in drag to bring fun and cheer to the festive season.

As the contrived war on drag continues, QNews looks back to Binary’s ignorant 2019 pronouncement. 

First published December 19, 2019 by Destiny Rogers.

Update by Destiny Rogers December 25, 2023.

The original 2019 article

Smith seems to lack awareness of drag history.

“Drag Queens have a place, as adult entertainment for a niche 18+ audience.

“Until recently they have only performed in bars and clubs restricted to adults only.”

In fact, back in Shakespeare’s day, men performed women’s roles onstage because the morality police of that era believed it immoral for a woman to perform onstage.

After Charles II lifted the prohibition, men continued to perform in drag and gradually the tradition of the Christmas pantomime dame came into being.

One only has to watch an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to see the influence of the panto dame on drag stage culture even today.

An age-old Christmas tradition: drag

Australia snuggled into the padded breast of English panto dame tradition early.

Aussie newspapers from last century document numerous panto dames performing in Christmas productions targeted directly at children.

Sydney’s Sunday Times wrote on the role of dames in 1916.

“The dame in pantomime is a part almost as traditional as Hamlet.

“There are certain things a dame must do — and be. For example, she must be a he.

The Newcastle Sun asked in 1925, “What would Christmas be without a pantomime?”

That year, Joe Tex performed in Newcastle as Dame Buttercup before Father Christmas arrived to distribute presents to the children.

Two years later, the  Sydney Mail breathlessly reported: “Three pantomimes in Sydney at one time.”

Etcetera Etcetera corrupting Christmas

Kirralie Smith says of drag queens, “Yet now they are increasingly targeting the realm of children. Storytime in libraries and Santa are for kids.”

But no one ‘owns’ Santa. We long ago left the Middle Ages behind. Just as moralists can no longer forbid women to portray women on stage, they can no longer decide who gets to play Santa.

Indeed, Etcetera Etcetera has as much right to the character as anyone else.

Kirralie Smith seems to be helping create a new Christmas tradition – one in which people espousing traditional values actually promote the very things they deride.

Lyle Shelton contributed to full houses for Brisbane’s A Very Naughty Christmas earlier this year when he complained about the production.

So, here’s hoping Binary’s contribution does the same for the wonderful Etcetera Etcetera.

More stuffing for your Xmas stocking:

‘A toilet brush’: Influencer shares rainbow Christmas tree fail.

Nikki Foxx shares rainbow Christmas tree fail
Image: TikTok

This Christmas, we’re awash with dicks past present & future.

dicks past present future steve-o harry jowsey
Images: Steve-O Twitter, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Harry Jowsey Twitter

Soapbox: was I first Trans Santa? …and grumpiest?

first trans santa grumpiest santa

2019: The Twitterverse goes 100% BITCH on Carols by Candlelight.

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Merry Bitchmas: the annual Carols by Candlelight Twitstorm.

bitchmas carols by candlelight twitstorm

Carols by Candlelight slays but the Domain? On ya sleigh! 🛷

carols by candelight
Image: Twitter

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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