Where would the LGBTQ community be without drag? It is a fundamental part of gay culture. Being gay has always been about challenging stereotypical gender norms. If the binary between male and female rests on a spectrum, gay people usually sit somewhere in the middle, fully embracing both male and female parts of their personality, so it’s only natural for LGBTQ people to experiment.

From bingo hosting to fashion shows, comedy routines to musical performances, drag is a vehicle for self-expression.

Over the last decade, it has exploded into a full-fledged phenomenon. You no longer have to go to the basement of your favorite gay club to find it. Today, it’s a part of popular culture. TV series like RuPaul’s Drag Race exist entirely as a means of celebrating drag culture.

At its core, drag is about challenging gender norms. Of course, sometimes it’s also just about dressing up and having fun playing a new character. Take a look at all the ways this queer art form has redefined what it means to be gay.