Day before yesterday I got dragged into a debate that, apparently, has raged off and on in odd pockets of the internet for years: Is Bugs Bunny transgender? When I first jumped down this, er, rabbit hole, I didn't understand the stakes or why people care. But I think it turns out that this question wraps up in it a variety of other questions with more obvious hooks: what are the borders of transgender? How do we make sense of queer identities from other time periods? Does mainstream media have any strategies for portraying trans people other than the standbys of psycho-villain, transphobic comedy, or sympathy porn? And perhaps even, how do our theories of fiction fare as we approach the borders of mythology? My own attempts to explore this have taught me a lot about queer culture in America prior to Stonewall, so I'm going to inflict it on you and call it philosophy, uhm, loosely.
Bugs Bunny first appeared in cartoons in 1940, (although he descends from a character named “happy hare” who showed up a couple years earlier), and by 1942 he was the principle star of Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons. He went on to have an extensive 8 decade career, appears (as more than just a cameo) in at least 8 TV series, dozens of film and TV shorts, many TV specials, at least 8 full length movies, over a dozen video games, and several print comics series. (Oh and a couple direct to video things). According to Guinness book of world records Bugs has appeared in more films than any other cartoon character, and is (was) the 9th most portrayed character of any kind (after, you know, Jesus, and Hitler, and Santa Claus, and Sherlock Holmes, and such.) This means that a huge number of different writers and artists have created Bugs. Indeed, many different companies with different goals, different media, and different marketing objectives. And this turns out to matter critically for issues of Bugs' sexual orientation and gender identity. Bugs was voiced exclusively by Mel Blanc from 1940 (and before) until 1989, and probably Mel managed to put his stamp on Bugs more than any other artist, but Bugs has been voice acted by 5 others since 1990.
So in considering if Bugs is trans, two key facts jump out, even before looking at closer detail. Bugs Bunny loves dressing as a female, having done so in many ways, contexts, and decades; and Bugs Bunny strongly resisted romantic pairing with female characters for many decades, but eventually was paired up with Lola Bunny. Bugs in feminine presentation shows up in all decades. Bugs has appeared as a valkyrie, a geisha, a Southern belle, a blushing bride, a bobby-soxer, a flapper, a WAC, a mermaid, little red riding hood, etc. etc. even Josephine Bonaparte. While Bugs loves disguises in general, and does disguise himself as a male occasionally, dressing as a female is clearly his go to trick/shtick. When Bugs dresses as a female, it is almost always as a flamboyant female.
Further Bugs resists female attractions fairly frequently throughout his career. He is shown as married (to a Mrs. Bugs Bunny, who looks identical except for a bow in her hair, her dress, and her claims to “wear the pants” in their family) in one 1942 cartoon, but that character is never seen or referred to again. Numerous female characters have shown attraction to Bugs and been ignored or rebuffed, including a Hawaiian surf bunny in 1944, a robotic female bunny in 1946, Daisy Lou 1948, Witch Hazel transformed into a female bunny 1953, Mama Bear (of Goldilocks fame) 1957, Penelope Pussycat (in Carrotblanca 1995). Print comics paired Bugs with Lula Belle Bunny (1947-55) and later Honey Bunny (1966-78+). Neither of these characters got much traction with Bugs' wider persona, or screen time. Honey in particular veered erratically from putative girlfriend, to decidedly non-romantic co-adventurer. Honey is at least acknowledged by Warner Brothers though, and appeared in a few marketing and promotional things, and makes tiny cameos in a few TV specials and obscure Bugs video games. The 2003 book “Looney Tunes: The Official Visual Guide” lists her as one of Bugs' “former traveling companions” rather than even as an ex-girlfriend. No, the first time anybody has been able to make a relationship stick between Bugs and a female, was Lola Bunny in the 1996 movie Space Jam and subsequently. And indeed, Warner Bros. has made it clear that her function was always as a “female merchandising counterpart” to Bugs. On the other hand, Lola has managed to have some life of her own since 1996, and has appeared in numerous contexts both with and without Bugs, in several other TV and movie settings. The Loonatics Unleashed TV series, which is WB canon, is set in 2772, and includes a characters who is established as a “descendant” of Bugs Bunny, and another who is established as a descendant of Lola Bunny, so it is canon that Bugs and Lola each have kids at some point and not necessarily with each other. My kids both interpret Bugs Bunny as having a girlfriend, even though I grew up thinking of Bugs Bunny as not having a girlfriend.
Bugs Bunny has been called the first drag queen, and while I don't think that is quite true, it certainly has a strong element of truth to it. Bugs comes out of an older tradition and identity, the “female impersonators.” Female impersonators were a staple of vaudeville entertainment from the 1880s until the Great Depression. In the 1900s and 1910s Julian Eltinge (pictured right) became nationally famous, and highly celebrated for his stage female impersonation act. He was probably the most famous and well-paid actor in America for several of the years in there. There were male impersonators too, such as Vesta Tilley or Hetty King. Stage impersonators were broadly respected, and it was typically legal (although some states and localities banned it as immoral), but there were always whispers of homosexuality (which was far more broadly illegal), and plenty of social pushback. Many female or male impersonators felt the need to “overcompensate” off-stage by emphasizing their social gender. Eltinge cultivated a reputation for getting into fistfights with anyone who challenged his masculinity off stage, and Tilley made a point to always wear furs and jewelry. Indeed Tilley gave up the stage when her husband ran for MP (she was British), because while stage impersonation was respectable it was never quite respectable enough … There were a lot of nuances and delicacies in the press coverage of famous impersonators, such as Eltinge or Tilley. (here's a good article) Eltinge had many female followers hoping to learn fashion secrets from his glamorous act, but also male admirers trying to find ways to give voice to homosexual desire in ways that would be publicly acceptable. The many entertainment reviews and printed commentaries made on Eltinge or the even edgier Bothwell Browne, make it clear that the common assumption was that many female impersonators were homosexual and effeminate in their private life, but that not all were. Dorothy Parker coined the term “Ambisextuous” in 1914 for people who were highly effeminate sometimes and highly masculine others, listing Eltinge and Tilley as examples.
In 1914, the Long Beach police made a major bust on the California homosexual community of male and female “queers,” and a local newspaperman sent reporters undercover and came back with salacious stories of a large, well-organized Californian queer society with its own slang, practices, and long-standing couples. It appears to have been well organized, unitary, and inclusive of a diverse cast of folks. The community saw itself as progressive, modernist, and referred to oral sex as “the 20th century way” for instance. In these tales, crossdressing is widespread, crossdressers frequently sing and dance to entertain private parties and clubs that are primarily about homosexual or oral sex, and there are both alliances and divisions between those who are there to act contrary to gender expectations, and those who are there for sexual activities with people of the same sex. That is, the sexologists of the time, the psychologists, the popular press, and even the police didn't make much distinction between effeminacy in males (or virility in women), and homosexuality, both were signs of a unified “sexual inversion” or “unnaturalness” but the actual queer communities meeting in secret in “96 clubs,” “drags,” and private homes DID make this distinction, and understood that some people were part of the queer community because they were effeminate or virile, some because they were homosexual, and some for both reasons. And the public that is willing to tolerate, even celebrate, stage impersonators bending gender roles in public for money, is nonetheless deeply hostile, even shocked, to learn of people doing similar things in private for their own purposes. The first codes as an odd and vaguely suspicious niche of commerce, the second as moral degeneracy, mental health disorder, and evidence of crime to boot.
OK, Fast forward to Bugs and the US in the early 1940s. The phrase “drag queen” doesn't exist, or barely exists (OED has it's first instance in 1941 Britain, and it doesn't really spread to the US until the 50s and 60s). But the term “drag” already has a long history in US and British queer slang (meaning all kinds of things, from clothing to a queer hangout location), and the term "queen" is already common in British queer slang (for a male homosexual). Nor is the culture we associate with drag queens in the US already up and running. What IS available, and well known publicly, is the “female impersonator” tradition which is tightly linked to vaudeville. And indeed Bugs Bunny has lots of other links to the vaudeville tradition as well (the framing of the stage, the crook, some of the theatrical costumes, etc.). The Bugs Bunny of the 40s is a female impersonator, not a drag queen yet, but as the drag queen culture is getting set up, Bugs is continuing along with it, and indeed, perhaps serving as a public face for it. But the thing about the female impersonator social role in the US is that it carried suspicions of feminine personal identity, or homosexual sexual practice, but it was understood not to guarantee either. And it was tolerated, as long as if was "just for entertainment." Even if Bugs was a female impersonator, it doesn't answer whether Bugs thought his own gender needed feminine expression as well as masculine expression, or whether it was “just an act” or whether he was genuinely attracted to Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam, or whether that was just “hamming it up.”
Indeed, some argue that Bugs isn't even a female impersonator, just a guy who occasionally crossdresses as a comedy gag. A series of suspiciously transphobic comedy gags at that. Hollywood, like vaudeville before it, has a long history of putting straight, cis, male actors in drag for comedic purposes, unrelated to the female impersonator tradition of elegance and focus on clothing and presentation. Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy), Lou Costello (of Abbott and Costello), Jimmy Durante, Cary Grant, Alex Guinness (you know Obi Wan), Bob Hope, and Anthony Hopkins have all done it by the end of the 50s, and it is the main gag in “Some Like it Hot.” (It continues to be an enduring Hollywood trope). In each of these cases, the intended effect is more hur hur a guy in a dress hur hur, with maybe a few uncomfortable entrendres or confusions, rather than the classic impersonators' attempts to re-interpret femininity. Laurel and Hardy in drag did not set fashion trends, and were not trying to. But this is clearly NOT what is going on, even with very early Bugs Bunny. Bugs is shown being surprised while dressing in female clothes in private several times in the 40s. Bugs adopts feminine clothes not just as a trick, or to escape, or as a “disguise,” but also for artistic purposes already in the 40s doing a ballet, a Carmen Miranda dance, and participating in a can-can chorus line along with more clearly female humans. In a 1945 cartoon Bugs dresses en femme so he can try on women's shoes at one point (and partly to trick an antagonist). The clincher for me was when I found a 1942 cartoon where Bugs in wearing a towel only, and in the bathroom getting ready for dinner, and he shaves both his face AND his underarms, something neither a straight male, nor a straight female would have done at the time, but only a malish person planning to dress en femme. This isn't just a gag, it's a quick nod to the lifestyle of folks who habitually blurred gender lines in private. More obviously, Bugs doesn't just crossdress, he crossdresses a lot. Like every chance he can get. Crossdressing isn't a side issue for Bugs, it's part of who Bugs is. Somehow. But how?
There are pre-cursors to the American drag culture of the 50s and 60s. Private parties, and parties at queer venues, where singing and dancing by a queer performer dressed en femme for queer audiences, clearly happened in large US cities at least from 1914 on. We have a few records of en femme drag fashion shows led by white gay folks in NYC in the 1930s. But WWII changes everything. Queer communities returning from the war re-organize and let in lots of new members. Likewise queer communities start differentiating themselves from each other more clearly. Gay and lesbian communities distance themselves from each other, as do say leather men from femme gay men. Gradually over the 50s, and 60s, the terms “queen” and “drag queen” start replacing the term “female impersonator.” What we now think of as drag culture comes mostly out of the black and latinx queer male communities, and it takes different forms in different places at first, but begins emphasizing competitions based on entertainment performances, by queer performers for largely queer audiences.There were drag balls in Chicago that straight and gay couples would both attend in the 50s. New York sees a ball culture emerging in Harlem. California sees the imperial court system set up. DC sees a system of “houses” and “families,” all of these are going by the 60s and merging and influencing each other by the late 60s. I've read several accounts from people in the ball culture of the 50s and 60s. Many of them later identified as transgender (and many didn't), but they record that the balls weren't really about exploration of owns own gender identity at that point. They didn't have the language and that wasn't the focus. Rather they were about being glamorous and proud. By this time “queen” is shifting to specifically mean gay men who enjoy presenting feminine, especially among non-white folk. On the other hand, the openly gay nightclub performing character Beverly La Salle on the TV show “All in the Family” is referred to as a “female impersonator” rather than a “drag queen” as late as 1977. Both the Compton riots of California and the Stonewall riots of NYC are significantly led by drag queens of color and a mix of folks who would and wouldn't later identify as transgender.
And Bugs Bunny is probably the most famous public face of this emerging drag culture. Bugs continued to dress en femme for public dance numbers (and now occasionally singing numbers too), as well as in private, throughout the 40s, 50s and until 1964. (No Bugs cartoons are made between 1964 and 1976, although old ones are continuously recycled). During this period, Bugs sometimes changes his voice to be more feminine while en femme, and sometimes does not. The only other public figure to regularly appear en femme in American culture during this time period that I can find is Milton Berle, and he takes pains to distance himself as much as possible from homosexual underground culture, in precisely the way that Bugs doesn't, and also marries and divorces several times and win a reputation for womanizing. Meanwhile, Bugs resists feminine wiles, dresses as a female, and attempts to flirt with or even marry male characters. Bugs refers to himself as a lady while en femme, and is referred to with female pronouns and terms by other characters while en femme. But Bugs seems to always maintain a male persona too. Another kicker for me is that Bugs is frequently shown being interrupted while already dressed en femme in private, while cleaning his rabbit hole, or primping. For Bugs feminine clothing isn't just for play or entertainment, but something he sometimes wears while working alone. Bugs is certainly a female impersonator from the beginning, and probably a drag queen later on, but what other terms might apply to Bugs? Is he for instance transgender?
The terms for and understandings of various queer identities are shifting hugely from 1965 until 1976 (during Bugs' fallow period), and even later on. The terms transsexual, transgender, transgenderist, transgenderal, trans, transvestite, queen, and drag queen, all gain prominence and shift around meanings during this time. Christine Jorgensen, for instance calls herself transsexual in 1966, but rejects the term and calls herself transgender in 1979. Sylvia Riviera called herself a “queen” in 1969, a “transvestite” by 1970, and a “transgender person” and “transwoman” by 2001. In each case the shift was not in their identity so much as in their perceptions of the language being used to express identities. But we don't have much from Bugs about his own understanding of his gender situation or sexual orientation. Would Bugs describe himself as gay or bisexual perhaps? Who knows? Would Bugs be comfortable being called genderfluid? Hard to say.
For “transgender” in particular there are disputes about whether and to what extent drag queens are intended to count as examples of transgender people. The excellent scholar of trans history, Cristan Williams, has covered this far better than I can (here), but the short story is that there is ideological fighting about the terms and identities among different parts of queer community from the very beginning, but that by the 70s and on there are already a broad and a narrow meaning. Narrowly transgender is used to describe the experience of people who want to live full time as a member of a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, in which case Bugs, and drag queens, and indeed most crossdressers would not count. Whatever the meaning of femininity is for Bugs, it isn't a full time pursuit. Broadly transgender is used as an umbrella term for many kinds of lifestyles that challenge social gender conventions – as the 1992 International Transgender Law Conference puts it “Transgendered persons include transsexuals, transgenderists, and other crossdressers of both sexes, transitioning in either direction (male to female or female to male), of any sexual orientation, and of all races, creeds, religions, ages and degrees of physical impediment.” Clearly drag queens broadly, and Bugs Bunny specifically would count here. He is at least "transgressing" gender norms by his actions, what we sometimes call being gender non-conforming, these days. So unless Bugs clarifies his own opinions, his behaviors put him in a category that is sometimes thought of as trans and sometimes not, depending on exactly what we mean, and has been since at least the 70s.
To make matters worse, after decades of history of collaboration, cooperation, and mutual support between drag culture and the transsexual community, relations between the two have become notably strained since the summer of 2014 and the “trannygate” disputes. Essentially there was a dispute between RuPaul, Calpernia Addams, Andrea James and a wide variety of older transfolk especially with ties to the drag community, on one side, and Parker Malloy, Zinnia Jones, Fallon Fox and a variety of younger transfolk especially with ties to the transfeminine community, on the other. They got into a broad ranging fight about the word "tranny" and many other things. I have found no good neutral overviews of this dispute, which raged over a wide variety of electronic media. I personally subscribe to Jen Richard's middle position on the politics of it in the trans community, (roughly that both sides have good points but articulated them in unhelpful ways), and Cristan William's scholarly position, on the history of the linguistics debates involved here (roughly that the term "tranny" has seriously shifted meaning over time and is far more demeaning now than it once was). The drag folk broadly considered the term “tranny” to include themselves and therefore to be permissible for them to use in a reclaiming sense, much as terms like “queer” or “fag” are. The other side considered the term "tranny" to be a transmisogynist slur, that does not include drag folk, and specifically targets and demeans transwomen in an unacceptable way. At the very least, the controversy generated a lot of bad blood between older and younger trans people, and between drag folk and non-drag transfolk, and the question of whether or not drag queens count as “transgender” is very much one of the items of contention. Here, for example, is Article 8 of an open letter signed by over 400 trans leaders on the anti-RuPaul side.
“We reject James’ classification of RuPaul as transgender, as well as any implication that cisgender male drag queens are therefore entitled to use transmisogynist slurs. Cisgender male drag queens are assigned male at birth, and they neither consider themselves to be women nor live as women in their everyday lives. Unlike trans women, they are not the ones who regularly face the consequences of widespread transphobia and transmisogyny, and they are not confronted with the fallout of normalizing transmisogynist slurs. Likewise, Addams’ statement that she “hate[s] the term ‘cisgender’” shows a lack of understanding of the importance of this distinction.”
Obviously, this is aimed at RuPaul, but intended to apply more broadly. Without Bugs clarifying his own self-understanding, it sure seems to apply to him too. That is, if we consider Bugs to be transgender on the basis of his strongly drag queen-like behavior, we risk taking a side in a debate that was literally tearing apart the trans community last summer. But if we deny it, we risk taking the other side.
OK maybe we can side step this, at least a little by tackling the question of whether or not Bugs Bunny's portrayal is transphobic or transmisogynist. After all, Bugs is intended to be a sympathetic character right? Indeed, a protagonist. If he's trans, then he's got to be about the most sympathetic treatment of a trans person, and the only trans protagonist, in American pop culture prior to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
But that doesn't solve the problem. One of the classic moves of Bugs in drag is to be leered at by a male, lead them on, and then suddenly reveal himself to be not-female-after-all in a “gotcha” moment. And this turns out to be the basic foundation of one of main transmisogynist narratives in Hollywood portrayals of trans folk. Hollywood has a terrible track record for portraying transfolk. Media portrayals tend to fall into 4 problematic archetypes: transwoman as seductive deceptive traps, leading straight men astray by "tricking" them; transwoman as mentally ill villain; transwoman as pathetic, unfeminine, unattractive jokes; and transwomen as locus of sympathy porn. Transmen and other trans identities like genderqueer or genderfluid, tend not to get portrayed at all. The narrative that a transwoman is trying to deceive men and threaten their own orientation does immense damage to trans people. It is one of the sources of the massive violence that transwomen, especially transwomen of color experience. (Almost 30% of trans folk have been victims of hate violence, and well over 10% subjected to violence while attempting to date, and don't even get me started on murder rates, see for example). Indeed, in 2005 folks who killed a trans girl in California actually managed to escape murder charges by successfully using the “trans panic” defense that when they found out that girl they were having sex with “was really a man” it “provoked the violent response to what Thorman represented as a sexual violation 'so deep it's almost primal.'" And the stories Bugs is in sure sets this up, both treating his flirting with men as deceptions once “caught” and portraying the men as reacting typically with anger and violence. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies may portray Bugs as a protagonist dressing en femme and flirting with guys, but it also portrays this as deceptive behavior that ends in anger and attempted violence. Not exactly an ideal from my perspective...
Sigh. In the end I think we have to admit that the stories of Bugs Bunny from the 40-60s ARE transphobic and transmisogynistic and promote violence against trans people. But they are ALSO trying to be sympathetic to transpeople in a way that isn't seen again in mainstream pop culture for decades. (And the story of Tip/Ozma, and Herriman's Krazy Kat are the only real earlier sorta examples I've been able to think up). A nice analogy is the case of Speedy Gonzales. A number of the old Looney Tunes cartoons were withdrawn from distribution by Warner Brothers on the argument that they were so loaded with racially offensive material that they could not be edited into acceptable modern releases. And there is some racially terrible stuff left in a number of other WB cartoons too. In 1999 all Speedy Gonzales cartoons were removed from broadcast on Cartoon Network for their stereotyping of Mexicans. But the Hispanic population lobbied to have them re-instated, and they were in 2002. They DO contain plenty of harmful and offensive stereotypes. But they also contain a rare, early Hispanic protagonist, and a genuine attempt to celebrate Mexican culture as well as to lampoon it. In a sense, Bugs Bunny is the gender non-conforming equivalent of Speedy Gonzales. He and the stories he appears in are certainly not ideal, but they seem well intentioned, and have become beloved, and as an early protagonist, Bugs has certainly inspired generations of American gender-non-conforming folks. Bugs Bunny really IS a female impersonator and drag queen, and right on the debatable edge of being a transgender bunny himself. We don't really have the data we'd need to decide whether or not terms from our era like gender fluid or genderqueer or bigender apply to Bugs (and I haven't seen post 1976 Bugs stories that give away any big clues that hadn't already been shown earlier, but if you folks know of any I'd love to hear it. Indeed, since 1996 he has been spun far more heteronormative.) But it probably IS fair to apply the terms from his own era, female impersonator, and drag queen to his pre-64 versions.
Finally I suppose I have to get to the more philosophical worry about exactly what the force of speculation about non-evident facts about a fictional character is supposed to be. The question of the ontological status of fictional characters is long debated with Possibilist (even impossibilist), Meinongian, Creationist, Fictional Realist, Fictional Anti-realism, and many other camps. (see). And honestly the semantic and ontological puzzles are already bad enough in cases where we have clear cut canon, and clear cut fictional context. If we are debating the handedness of Arthur Conan Doyle's specific Sherlock Holmes, or whether or not there is a young Greek God named Apollo, that is one thing. Doyle's stories clearly don't disambiguate the handedness of Sherlock Holmes, and while Greek myths disagree with each other on many details, they can agree that there is a God named Apollo and he manifests as a youth. But if we ask about Sherlock Holmes' handedness the problem instantly becomes much worse. Holmes appeared as a character not just in Conan Doyle's stories, but also in numerous plays, dozens of movies, TV shows, video games, comic books, and more. In this sense, Sherlock has been portrayed by both righties and lefties, so any potential fact of the matter is at least in as much danger of being over-determined as under-determined. Similarly if we ask about Apollo's sexual orientation or liaisons, rather than his youth, then suddenly we have to start talking about time periods and regions, and differences between Dorian and Minoan portrayals of Apollo, and between 8th century and 3rd century BCE portrayals, and so on. Fictional characters that become culturally important tend to exist in multiple differing portrayals, with many creators, and usually even multiple mediums and genres. And this means that that ontology of fictional entities of importance tend to have built-in conflicts and multiplicities. Often, we resolve these conflicting views with some sense of “canonicity” of which tellings and portrayals are more authoritative over the core fictional situations of the character. In Bugs Bunny's case, there are clear differences between the Bugs of the 40s-60s, and the Bugs of the 90s and 00s. Further the Bugs of TV and film, is clearly more central to the Bugs Bunny mythology than the Bugs Bunny of print comics or video games. Also, there is no reason to suspect that the many authors and artists behind Bugs Bunny all have the same spin on Bugs Bunny's motivations, thoughts and feelings.
And this can help us respond to some objections. Suppose someone argues that the Bugs Bunny of the 40s-60s isn't a drag queen, because drag queens at the time were limited to gay males, and Bugs is in long term relationships with Lulu Belle Bunny and Honey Bunny. Well, neither character makes in into film or TV during that time period, but are limited to small circulation print comics by companies Gold Key comics and Dell Comics, companies with only vague ties to Warner Brothers,the core creators of the Looney Tunes. That is, this objection relies on highly non-canonical portrayals of Bugs Bunny. Suppose instead one argues that Warner Brothers never intended Bugs Bunny to be interpreted as a drag queen, because he was intended as entertainment for kids, and they wouldn't have wanted to risk alienating the parents, rather his crossdressing was intended only as light-hearted antics without deeper meaning. Well, ... cartoons then as now, both in movies and on TV, were aimed at adults as well as kids, and often intended to work on different levels for each demographic. The Warner Brothers executives certainly understood that the cartoons wouldn't be successful long term unless both the adults and kids enjoyed them. Similarly, different writers, directors, and artists surely had different ideas about what was going on with Bugs' identity. As you get more artistic creators involved the “creators' intent” arguments become less salient, unless you have reason to suspect tight unity among the creators. Maybe there was tension between artists or writers wanting to push the envelope and directors or producers wanting to rein in. At any rate, we struggle to interpret the meaning and import of the output, understanding it to be the combined effect of many agendas, and understand that different viewers view it with different eyes. Surely my own quixotic focus on Bugs Bunny's gender identity and sexuality is unusual (although not novel I assure you).
So Is Bugs Bunny trans? Yes. He's a female impersonator, and later a drag queen, and I stand with Richards and Williams and many others in arguing that there is a broader and narrower sense of the word “transgender” and the broader sense definitely includes drag queens. Including Bugs Bunny as transgender (with suitable provisos) helps us renew strained bonds in our own community, and re-see links to our own past that might slip from view otherwise.