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.

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

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Hazel Cills

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel