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Crimson Kitty invades the drag boys' club

Girlie drag doesn't have to be an all-male sport; local star Crimson Kitty is shaking up the queendom

Photograph: Elisabeth Fuchsia

Crimson Kitty isn’t the first woman to explore female drag in NYC, but she certainly is taking it further than most. While burlesque stars like the World Famous *BOB* have been incorporating drag into their act for years, Ms. Kitty has mostly left the bumping and grinding behind, performing at gay bars and clubs around the city alongside gender-bending boys. We caught up with the emerging drag star in advance of her HOT! Festival showcase at Dixon Place this weekend.

RECOMMENDED: Read more in the NYC drag queen guide

You’re a woman who does female drag. What’s the preferred term for what you do?
The terms that have been used are faux queen and bio queen. I don’t mind bio queen, but I’m not a big fan of faux queen. So that’s why I created ladyqueen. That’s what I’d like to be the preferred term.

What’s the difference between women and men when it comes to doing female drag?
First off, the genitalia is different. [Laughs] Secondly, sometimes with the girls, some burlesque tends to get into the play. But what I do is all drag, no burlesque. It’s just like you would see with any other queen in a club.

What can people expect to see at your Ladyqueen showcase?
Women, biological or otherwise, tend to see the world a different way. A lot of drag queens perform content that may be considered misogynist or offensive. You’re going to see drag with feminism. You’re going to see drag that, instead of objectifying femininity, explores femininity. And because some people will have questions, I’m offering a Q&A after the show.

Are there any common misconceptions about women doing female drag?
If we're doing drag, we're not the real thing because we're women, which makes no sense. I mean, really, the makeup I do is not for going to the bodega to get a sandwich—except for five in the morning after a gig. The biggest misconception is that we can't really do it. So that is why I decided to pretty much fund this [showcase] out of my pocket. I'm not getting a single cent from this show. This show is to show that [being female] doesn't exclude someone from giving an amazing performance.

Drag has gotten very mainstream thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race. Do you think there’s room for a ladyqueen on that show?
No. It clearly states no bio queens on the application; you have to be male-identified. Do I want there to be a female queen on Drag Race? Absolutely. Do I want it to be me? Absolutely! But we are a long way from that.

Has anyone ever mistaken you for a male performer?
Oh, yes! If somebody questions my gender when I’m performing, it means I’m doing it right.

See the show

Crimson Kitty: LADYQUEEN!

Female-on-female drag pioneer Crimson Kitty serves up this "femme dragstravaganza" as part of this year's HOT! Festival. Participants in the revue include Sequinette, Heather Ács, Bambi Galore, Elle McQueen, Leah James, Mistor Hyster and Miss Malice.

Read more
07 Aug 2015

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