Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Chinese Opera Drag: antique postcard

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | July 05, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Chinatown, Chinese Opera, drag queens, female impersonator, San Francisco, transgender performer

A wonderful piece of San Francisco memorabilia, this exquisite image of a female impersonator in majestic dress. Appears to be from the early decades of the 20th century. Though I know it's a tradition to have men play female roles, I can't help but wonder how many of the actors who trained for female roles --whether in Chinese theatre productions or Elizabethan ones--were themselves gay or trans.


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Watch the film "Farewell My Concubine" for a really insightful glimpse into the world of Beijing Opera and life as a Dan (female impersonator).