Pictured above is Brigham Morris Young, who in the 1800s made a career in drag, performing as Madam Pattrini.
Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton were the first men who openly dared to walk the streets in women's clothing. This was very shocking in Victorian London, and made the police launch investigations that were normally reserved for extreme criminals.
As it took a long time before it was respectable for women to have a career as an actress, men in women's clothes have been playing the female roles for centuries. So on stage, it was perfectly acceptable for men to perform in drag.
Around the turn of the century drag performances became a category of it's own. Above we see vaudeville performer Julian Eltinge.
During the 1920 drag balls became popular. These were huge LBGT parties, where most men dressed as women.
|Noted drag queen Harry S. Franklyn. 1920s.|
|Vaudevillian sensation Vander Clyde aka Barbette. 1920s.|
|Female impersonator Billy Richards. 1937.|
|Jerry Vaughn, 1947.|