Chris Cicchinelli sat in his car outside the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He had finally accepted his child’s longtime insistence that she was a girl, not a boy. He had finally let her pick out girl’s clothes. But at the door of the place that offers care for transgender kids and support for their families, he was nervous and afraid.
Before “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Before “To Wong Foo.” And, yes hunty, before “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Far before the pop-culture obsession with watching those padded hips sashay away, drag queens have been working the stages for decades. From hole-in-the-wall gay dive bars to main stage pageants to bachelorette parties in random straight bars, there’s a generation of grand dames who have paved the path for current performers.