Man, Wife, and Bingo Verifying Diva: What Drag Bingo Can Do For Me and You

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How is gender ideology reinforced and transformed through the interaction between the family and extra-familial social institutions in Durham, North Carolina and by extension in the contemporary United States? This study is an investigation of the gender boundaries in American culture through the lens of the family and social institutions. I focus on non-heteronormative gender and sexuality, with a special emphasis on gender as a culturally constructed and enacted entity. I describe what is difficult to define categorically by the two-gender system, including those who consider themselves transgender, transvestites, cross-dressers, drag queens, and others that may not even have their own label. I analyze the extent to which the current two-gender social system can accommodate changing concepts of gender in the late-capitalist twenty-first century. The family is a site that can be either culturally preservative or malleable and I assess how family structure is adapting to changing gender systems. Extra-familial social institutions include both mainstream structures like schools and the workplace as well as community organizations that cater to persons of non-normative gender and sexuality. I address these subjects through the study of a Durham-based HIV/AIDS fundraising organization called Drag Bingo, which brings together people of the community of different gender and sexual orientations (including many heterosexual people and their families). Drag Bingo is a paradigmatic site of family and the non-family interaction around issues of non-normative gender. As I see it, I can use Drag Bingo to understand the ways in which the family can be an agent of social change.


Senior Distinction Thesis




Terrell, Kathryn (2010). Man, Wife, and Bingo Verifying Diva: What Drag Bingo Can Do For Me and You. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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