Download HER

Drag King Meaning

Feb 27, 2020

Drag King Meaning
  • Table of Contents

  • Drag kings are the unsung heroes of the drag world. So let’s sing them!! Historically, drag kings were cis women dressed up as men, but as our understanding of gender evolves, the definition has since expanded to include trans, nonbinary, and even cis male performers, all of whom are playing with and bending gender in new and creative ways. 

    What does Drag King mean?

    A drag king is a person who performs in a form of hyper-masculine or gender-bending drag. They are the unsung heroes of the drag world. 

    While drag queens have been catapulted into mainstream culture due to TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag kings are often completely left out of the conversation. Mostly due to sexism and transphobia. In fact, Ru once said his show had no room for trans or cis women performers, adhering to a very rigid (and bigoted, frankly) defintion of drag, and excluding many extremely talented women and nonbinary drag performers. 

    Download HER app

    Who are the famous drag kings to follow?

    One of the most visible drag kings throughout the years has been Murray Hill, who often performs with burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. In addition to Hill, there’s an entire new blossoming drag king scene, with performers — some trans and nonbinary — redefining the artform. Some other famous drag kings, like Gene Jeanie and Ivory Onyx, are emulating everybody from David Bowie to Bruno Mars. 

    What is drag king style?

    Much like drag queens incorporate elements of hyper-femininity, playing up gender stereotypes, drag kings also incorporate elements of hyper-masculinity. For instance, pairing glitter-covered eyelids with a giant bushy mustache. Just like queens, drag kings both play into and break down typical definitions of gender with their art. 

    At a drag king show, just like at a drag queen show, you can expect to see dancing, lip-synching, actual singing, and, if they’re funny, stand-up comedy. In 2019, Dragula on Amazon Prime became the first show to feature a drag king, Hollow Eve, but drag kings have yet to get their own TV show. Even though they deserve it!! At least there’s still time, *cough* Netflix *cough*.

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER the world's largest brand for LGBTQ womxn & queer people. Also runs London Queer Fashion Show. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

    Newsletter Sign Up