The Importance of Local Drag Competitions

From the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race to the local stages of New York City, drag competitions have served as glitter-soaked battlegrounds where drag performers have battled for glory, recognition, and the chance to make their mark on the world! Attending a local drag competition is absolutely one of the best ways to see some of the most exciting drag performances and future all-stars of the drag world!

What Is a Drag Competition?

Local drag competitions are events where drag performers from a specific area, come together to showcase their talent and compete for titles or prizes. These competitions are usually organized by local LGBTQ+ venues, organizations, or drag collectives and attract a diverse audience of drag enthusiasts, allies, and community members. While the format may vary, local drag competitions often involve multiple rounds, where performers compete in various categories such as lip-syncing, dancing, comedy, and runway presentations.

Why Local Drag Competitions are Important

Platform for Emerging Talent

Local drag competitions serve as a platform for emerging drag artists to gain visibility and recognition within their local community. For aspiring performers, these competitions offer an opportunity to refine their skills, experiment with their artistic expression, and develop their drag personas. By providing a stage and an engaged audience, these events help to launch the careers of talented individuals who may go on to make a significant impact in the world of drag.

Celebration of Diversity and Self-Expression

Drag is a celebration of individuality and the freedom to express oneself authentically. Local drag competitions embrace and amplify this spirit of diversity, allowing performers of different backgrounds, gender identities, and styles to showcase their unique talents. These events celebrate the rich tapestry of the LGBTQ+ community, challenging societal norms, and promoting acceptance and understanding.

Building Community and Support Systems

The drag community often acts as a supportive and empowering network for performers. Local drag competitions play a vital role in fostering a sense of community by bringing together performers, fans, and allies. These events create spaces for connections to form, friendships to flourish, and mentorship opportunities to arise. They contribute to the development of support systems within the drag community, where performers can find guidance, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities.

Pushing Boundaries and Inspiring Creativity

Drag is an art form that thrives on pushing boundaries, defying conventions, and exploring new artistic frontiers. Local drag competitions provide a platform for performers to experiment, innovate, and showcase their creativity. Through extravagant costumes, mind-blowing performances, and conceptual presentations, drag competitions inspire both the performers and the audience, pushing the limits of artistic expression and encouraging others to think outside the box.

Promoting Visibility and Representation

Representation matters, and local drag competitions play a crucial role in promoting visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. By putting local drag artists in the spotlight, these competitions provide a platform for performers to share their stories and experiences. This visibility helps challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and foster a sense of belonging and empowerment within the LGBTQ+ community. It allows individuals to see themselves represented on stage, inspiring others to embrace their own identities and aspirations.

Drag Competitions Today

In 2023, many competitions returned (after pandemic hiatuses), and new ones emerged. The Miss Stonewall Pageant returned in June, crowning Misty Mountains, making her a part of the legacy and history of The Stonewall Inn. Get Schooled: Lip Sync Competition at VERS is a new competition this year, which will be held every Wednesday beginning July 12th, 2023. Previous winners include Vanity LaVain, Espi O’Najj, and Daniella Darling. At Pieces, Drag Wars: The Next Generation will be hosted by Kimmy Sumony this summer while Shequida Hall is in Vegas. Shows are every Monday at 10:00 PM.

Vaccine-O-Licious is a contest that crowns one drag artist as Mx. Vaccine-O-Licious. This winner acts as an HIV vaccine research advocate and liaison between the local LGBTQ+ community and Project ACHIEVE and Columbia Research Unit (PACRU). This pageant has a rich history of featuring amazing drag artists, including Peppermint, the former Queen of Vaccine for twelve years, Tina Burner, and Honey Davenport. This year’s event was held in Brooklyn at 3 Dollar Bill and crowned Taraye!

In the Drag King space, Takes The Cake is a drag competition for drag kings, things, and other non-binary and queer performers, produced by The Cake Boys, a network and platform for live, digital, and hybrid events to showcase Drag Kings and alternative queer and trans performers. This is a 5-week competition that features dozens of new performers from throughout New York and beyond.

Local drag competitions are important cultural events that go beyond entertainment. They provide a platform for emerging talent, celebrate diversity and self-expression, build supportive communities, inspire creativity, and promote visibility and representation. These competitions serve as transformative spaces where performers can shine, audiences can be inspired, and the entire LGBTQ+ community can come together to celebrate the power of drag.

Please note: the above is not meant to be a complete list of all the drag competitions in New York City, but a highlight of some of the events that have happened/are happening this year. If you’d like to see your drag competition featured, please email us at