Tag Archives: Drag Kings

Drag queens: the bridge between queer men and women

As a fan of drag queens and the art of drag, I have always wondered: do other lesbians love drag as much as I do? Why aren’t there more drag kings?

As a loyal fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race and an avid stalker a fan of several drag queens on social media, it’s hard not to notice that the fans are mainly gay men. So why isn’t there a bridge between queer men and women when it comes to drag?

Lesbian Drag fans, are you out there?

I have tried time and time again to reach out and find others who, like me, feel like drag is the ultimate art form; a way to connect us all through music, dance and comedy. And, after hours of reading comments and Facebook posts, there really is only a few of us out there who have the same opinion as me about drag.

Why? Perhaps the majority of  lesbians just don’t feel that connected to most drag queens.

I get that it can be hard to have to go through the struggles and daily hurdles we as women have to go through to then see someone else portraying an exaggerated and over the top version of what it means to be a woman and take all the fame, credit and praise for it.

On the other hand, historically, drag has had a bigger gay following than lesbian one. As time passed, we drifted further apart until this day. But why hasn’t there a larger lesbian “fan-base” from the start?

And this leads me to my next question: where are all the drag kings?

Are the kings missing…or just not in sight?


Perhaps it’s my mistake to think that the number of drag kings is much lower than the number of drag queens and perhaps, this is in fact a matter of visibility. There’s no America’s Next Top Drag King on TV, nor there is this big celebration of drag when it comes to women performing as men.

It is always seen as a dirty taboo if a woman deliberately lets go of her own femininity. So are we actually faced with a huge double-standard where femininity in a man is praised while masculinity in a woman is frowned upon?

Maybe our big break is still to arrive! Who’s to say that soon our own RuPaul will become a huge star and put drag kings back on the map. Perhaps, sooner rather than later drag kings will become as mainstream as drag queens!

Whether it happens tomorrow or 30 years from now, I am sure the day will come.

Until then, I will be binging Drag Race and stalking Adore Delano’s Instagram (seriously, I need some help).

Gender Defying Drag Kings Are Gaining A Massive UK Following

All around the UK Drag Kings are gaining followers by the 1000’s. 5 years ago there were only a handful of Drag Kings in the UK getting regular work in the performance world. Now, there are around 60 getting gigs on a weekly basis.


There are some venues in the UK that are now offering special Drag King nights. In She Bar, Soho, they have a night once a month called Boi Box. In Glory Bar, East London, they hold a weekly Drag King contest with a prize of 1000 pounds and they get up to 12 acts performing a week.

The Marlborough Theatre in Brighton holds an annual Drag King competition and in Blackpool they have the UK’s first ever Drag King Karaoke Bar.

Dr Meagan Tyler, an expert in gender and feminist theory believes the reason Drag Kings are getting so popular is because:

 The current growth is born out of younger generations of women,” They are less bound by traditional paradigms of gender conduct in the wake of various feminist movements. Social attitudes in this country are undergoing tremendous changes when it comes to acceptance of otherness.”

Also there are a number of celebrities talking about being gender fluid – such as Ruby Rose, and Lady Gaga’s drag alter ego, Jo Calderone – or even trans gender’s, and it’s not hard to see why drag kings are gaining popularity. Some acts are accumulating more than 50,000 hits on YouTube which proves how popular they are becoming.


Stylist Magazine spoke to Benjamin Butch (real name Bethan Rainforth), a 22-year-old sales assistant originally from Lincoln, to discuss a Drag King’s typical stage dress and preparing for a show. Benjamin said:

 “Being in drag on public transport is not a pleasant experience. I start with make-up, which my fiancée does for me, then hair (it’s short, though some people use wigs), then body – binding [to strap down the chest] before contouring my abs with make-up, though some people use Sharpies for darker lines. I find binders annoying, so I use sports tape on my chest; it’s comfier. And then it’s the package – a prosthetic penis – and the right outfit. Because, of course, the clothes maketh the man…”

Most of the acts consist of a combination of lip synching, dancing and singing as well as some comedy. Stylist magazine asked Adam All (real name Jen Powell) who also runs Boi Box, how it feels when she performs:

“When I’m Adam, I feel powerful and liberated. The first time I dressed in drag I was 17, and my first public appearance on stage was at 19. It was quite nerve-wracking; I didn’t know how people would react. Yet the audience loved it. It felt so free to be appreciated for myself, or the part of myself that I previously had to keep hidden away all the time. People mistook my gender from as young as four-years-old. I never fitted the typically feminine stereotype and I found it really hurtful. I struggled with gender identity between the age of 18 and 22, and considered transitioning to male at one point, but in the end it didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

The drag scene seems fun, explorative and exciting. It’s inclusive. Underneath the sports tape and cartons full of fake chest and beard hair, every drag king seems to have one thing in common. Whether they were gay, straight, bi, non-binary, black or white they had found a movement where they finally belong. And as the public are embracing the scene with so much vigour and attending the performances on a regular basis, let’s hope the scene grows from strength to strength all around the country.

The Making Of A King – The Kings Are In Town

Drag kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes as part of an individual or group routine.

They may be heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise part of the LGBT community. Drag kings are largely a phenomenon of lesbian culture and have made up a large part of the lesbian community for many years.

Compared to their counterparts, drag queens, very little is known about the drag king subculture. Nicole Miyahara, the director of the film, hopes to change all that with her feature documentary and she has just recently launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise enough money to get the documentary finished.

We started this journey over four years ago. When I first met these drag kings, I was moved by their artistry and resilience. I knew I wanted to bring their story to the big screen.”

This feature documentary paints a broader and more inclusive picture of diverse identities and what it means to be a drag artist. These kings are challenging gender norms and stereotypes through drag and art, and in the process inviting the audience to question their own cultural expectations of gender.

Through deeply honest interviews, the kings reveal the journey of expressing masculinity through performance, explore what it will take for drag kings to be part of mainstream pop culture, and share how their experiences with drag positively affect their daily lives.


Nicole and her film making team have spent years getting to know these artists and following their stories through the camera in order to explore their culture and understand their battles. One protagonist of the documentary, Havok Von Doom expressed the importance of getting this documentary out there:

This film is really important on many levels. Drag kings have a bad rap even though we put it just as much work, time, effort into every illusion as the queens do. What we do transcends genders. It doesn’t matter what’s underneath the character that you are seeing. What I hope is that audiences will see this film and realize that drag in general should be celebrated as a mainstream form of entertainment.”

Apparently drag kings have an ongoing battle within the drag community and are fighting for equality within their own drag community. They are faced with issues such as equal pay, equal access to show time, and respect in the greater LGBTQ community.  Nicole talks about the message she is clear to portray with the film and says:

 We understand the responsibility and opportunity to open people’s minds with this film. We hope this documentary will create conversations about gender and performance art.”

It is important to the LGBTQ community that documentaries like this hit the big screen as it raises awareness in our own community as well as to others outside of it. Gender, identity and gender roles have been issues in society forever but it is even more important to challenge these issues in our own LGBTQ community so let’s support the film in any way we can.

For more information, please visit  or follow the film on Twitter: @DragKingFilm.

Facebook’s Chris Cox Apologizes To LGBT Community for Proposed ‘Real Names’ Policy

Facebook is apologizing to drag queens and the transgender community for deleting accounts that used drag names like Lil Miss Hot Mess rather than legal names such as Bob Smith.

The world’s biggest online social network caught heat recently when it deleted several hundred accounts belonging to self-described drag queens and kings, other performers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Facebook has long required its users to go by their “real names” on the site for security purposes, to stand out from other social networks and so it can better target advertising to people.

Now, the company says the spirit of its policy doesn’t mean a person’s legal name but “the authentic name they use in real life.”Last month, the company suggested that performers such as drag queens have other ways of maintaining their stage identities on the site, such as creating pages that are meant for businesses and public figures. But a fan page is not the same as a regular Facebook account and users were not happy with the suggestion.

“We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were. We see through this event that there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected.”

Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer

The Transgender Law Center, a San Francisco based transgender rights advocacy group that met with Facebook over the issue on Wednesday, said it is

“[We’re] excited to work in good faith with Facebook to address all the concerns raised in today’s meeting. What was made clear today is that Facebook is ready to collaborate with our communities and shares our values of making sure everyone is able to safely be their authentic self online.”

Cox also shed some light on why so many accounts with drag names and other stage names suddenly started getting deleted.

“An individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake. These reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports we process every single week, 99 percent of which are bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams, hate speech, and more – so we didn’t notice the pattern.”

Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had representatives at the meeting. Later, GLAAD published a statement on its website:

“GLAAD was happy to participate in this meeting with Facebook, and we look forward to working with them and the coalition partners on implementing a solution that allows people to be their authentic selves on Facebook.”

Jenny Lewis’ Puts Anne Hathaway & Kristen Stewart In Drag

Jenny Lewis’ new music video ‘Just One Of The Guys’ is fantastic. Starring Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart and Brie Larson in drag, the video is for Lewis’ first single off her first album in six years – ‘The Voyager’.

Stewart, Larson and Hathaway all play back up in the music video. The trio switch it up from all-white clad band, to becoming the titular dudes, all wearing tracksuits and fake moustaches. The song is about the expectations placed on women as they get older.

Lewis’ previous solo album, Acid Tongue may have been six years ago, but she’s been busy. In the interim, she created a collaborative I’m Having Fun Now under Jenny & Jonny, and she also did film work, scoring and writing songs for the indie flicks ‘Very Good Girls’ and ‘Song One’.

Voyager drops on July 29th. Watch below.