From RuPaul to Lady Bunny, drag queens have attracted the mainstream spotlight in recent years. But those who love the art form beyond Drag Race know that there’s far more to drag than performances of over-the-top femininity. Drag kings and male impersonators have been perfecting and honing their own performances of manliness for decades and, in the process, critiquing and expanding our own definitions of what masculinity even means today.

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From male impersonators of the late 19th century like Annie Hindle, the contemporary performances of Brooklyn drag kings like Lee VaLone, and the characters of comedians like SNL’s Kate McKinnon, the history of drag king performance is a long and storied one. Still, even though kings have been refining their craft for decades, they’re still fighting for cultural visibility.

Senior Producer: Jennifer Perry; Associate Producer: Zoe Stahl; Animator/Editor: Hope Sincere

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

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This is one if the annoying things about Drag Race, a show i love. I really wish Mama Ru would include Drag Kings. And, also expand the range of genders competing on Drag Race. Many reasons. Briefly, it opens opportunities on the “challenges” front, which have gotten a little stale. Second, a big part of why we watch Drag Race is because of these stories of struggle. Gay men are not the only ones who’ve had a boot on their neck. We need to hear these stories. Lastly, even based on Ru’s philosophy on gender and playing with it; I challenge him and Drag Race producers to open up the playground. You can DM me here if you want one of my afternoons to help you brainstorm this. xo

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