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.