RuPaul has famously said: “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” We are all in drag every day. Drag is not just about a man dressing as a woman; drag is simply self-expression. We all have many drags (parts or aspects) to us, whether conscious or unconscious. The practice of Drag Therapy helps patients uncover, embody, understand, and integrate those drags, thus increasing their Drag Repertoire. The more drags we can access within ourselves, the larger our Drag Repertoire is, and the greater range of emotional flexibility and expression we can have. The Drag Personas patients can create and embody are endless: Confident Drag, Addict Drag, Eating Disorder Drag, Traumatized Six-Year-Old Drag, Harry Potter Drag (character drag), etc.
Drag Therapy is also a type of play therapy. Play is inversely correlated to depression and anxiety. Drag is about play, creativity, and spontaneity - all things that help reduce shame and help people live more authentically. Play can also be an antidote to shame. The simple courage it takes to pick clothes from The Closet, put them on, or dress the mannequin can help reduce shame.
Drag is an art form. Most art forms have a therapeutic modality: art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, photo therapy, etc. I believe that, largely due to systemic homophobia and transphobia, Drag has not previously been developed as a therapeutic modality. These forces increase the shame (internalized homophobia) many LGBTQ+ people experience.
Drag has gained significant visibility since the increased popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race; however, the field of mental health must consider its therapeutic effectiveness and the value that a centuries-old queer art form can have on the psyche.