Drag Rat is actually defined: “The term Drag Rat refers to a unique population of homeless in Austin, Texas. The name originates from the unusual amount of time these individuals spend on Guadalupe Street, known to locals as “The Drag”… These panhandlers, gravitate to Austin from all over the country because of its reputation for being cool and laid back, are just part of Austin’s unique charm, according to many locals.”
I think these homeless people are different from others for reasons other than just their location. They are normally young, super aggressive, and kind of seem like they pride themselves on who they are and their place in Austin’s society.
They are often in groups and wear black. I once met a reformed, former Drag Rat who told me about her life living on the drag. She was addicted to heroin, eating out of the Taco Cabana dumpster and was raped. She was only 22 and had a family who lived in Bee Caves; her parents had kicked her out as a result of her drug use…
That is just one story, but there are probably hundreds of people who have led this life been at some point. It makes me sad when they have dogs, but then I think having a dog reflects on their humanity.
There are a lot of resources for homeless people in Austin and Drag Rats don’t seem to be interested in taking advantage of it. Nonetheless, I do hope (especially for the younger ones) that they can get their lives together and do something other then ask for spare change and cuss at you if you don’t give it to them.
****Not everything is black and white… there are all different kinds of Drag Rats with different stories, lives, situations, and attitudes.. Below are a couple videos depicting this population in a different light.