Drag is something that crosses and transcends barriers with gender. It’s clear to see why so many trans and non-binary people (disclaimer: I say trans and non-binary as, although non-binary people fall under the trans umbrella, I respect that not everyone who is non-binary identifies themselves as trans) discover their gender through drag, or use it as a way to deal with issues such as dysphoria and transphobia. On RuPaul’s Drag Race alone several of the past contestants have come out as trans (Gia Gunn, Peppermint, Stacy Layne Matthews, etc.), and many others are passionate about sharing that gender is a spectrum, rather than something one-dimensional (Sasha Velour, Aja, etc.). But alongside Drag Race queens, there are plenty of phenomenal queens, kings, and drag performers who are also open about their trans identities, and make themselves heard in a community dominated by cisgender gay males.
1. Chiyo Gomes
I mentioned Chiyo in an earlier post (which you can read here!), but when I started planning for this post, they were the first person I thought of. Chiyo’s instagram bio reads ‘Afrolatinx Trans body attempting to fuck this Drag scene up’ and nothing could truly be more accurate. Chiyo is unapologetic, honest, and is never afraid to call out racism or transphobia within the community. If you are around London, get tickets to his show Woof here, which has a brilliant line-up featuring Chiyo himself, Benjamin Butch, Lipsync 1000 winner Rhys’ Pieces, Rubyyy Jones, Soroya Marchelle and Zayn Phallic.
2. Victoria Sin
Victoria Sin is a nonbinary Asian drag queen who has done multiple interviews discussing gender and/or race within the drag community (here and here), and whose drag makes a clear statement that anyone should be able to do drag without limits. Sin is easily one of my favourite drag performers and is, personally, a huge inspiration to me- with ingenious performances such as this one, Sin is a performer that everyone should be watching and following. To keep up to date with Sin, check out their website here.
2. Eileen Bothways
Not Another Drag Competition alumna, and NADC All Stars and Drag Idol semi-finalist, Eileen has truly proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with. They are part of the wonderful Cybil’s House, which host events every month that you can keep up with by following their Facebook page. As well as a drag artist, they are also a Burlesque performer and many of their performances play with gender and what it means to be a man or a woman. You can also follow their YouTube channel, where Eileen performs makeup transformation videos and ASMR!
3. Sasha Colby
Sasha Colby is a Hawaiian showgirl, drag queen, and actress . She is a trans woman and a truly eye-catching performer- the first performance I saw of her being her Nightgowns performance (which is honestly worth watching just to see the ways in which Sasha uses her body throughout the song). She was 2012’s Miss Continental (a pageant celebrating the best of female impersonation) , and it’s easy to see why. Keep an eye on her Instagram(link above) to see what she’s up to!
4. Kat Wilderness
Kat is a trans woman whose performance of Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” went viral due to its complete accuracy as a recreation of the video and the incredible braid -see above. Kat is proof that you can be both a trans woman and a drag queen and that, although the two are not the same, this does not mean they cannot intersect. Kat is very active on social media, and also has a YouTube channel with some of her performances alongside her experiences as a transgender woman.
5. Benjamin Butch
Benjamin is a resident Bar Wotever performer, comedian, and transgender man. His Facebook bio describes him as “a comedic drag king who loves to use exaggerated movements to create outrageous performances”, which can be easily seen in this performance. You can also catch Benjamin at Woof alongside Chiyo.
6. Imp Kid
Imp is a modern-day club kid, and if you aren’t following her on Instagram, why the hell not? She delivers constant looks and incredible fashion, and is definitely one to watch out for – her looks and concepts never fail to amaze me, like this incredible performance of Tatianna’s “Same Parts”. If you’re in the UK, you can catch Imp at the Party Monster Ball in Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, and soon to be announced London (and Amsterdam!). Tickets here.
7. Berlin Hell
Berlin is a fairly new queen in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t stop them from delivering some of incredible looks. They are non-binary, and when I asked them about how their drag journey has helped them in their journey of discovering their gender, Berlin said:
“[…] drag for me has been almost an artistic release from the dysphoria i experience consistently, as well as a way to explore my gender identity while deconstructing the idea that we HAVE to present a certain way. Drag taught me that you can fully just.. be.”
Alongside following their Instagram, follow Berlin’s drag journey on their twitter.
8. Vigor Mortis
Vigor is someone whose name you may recognise as self-described ‘”little brother of the House of Velour”, but he is also a member of the incredible drag collective Switch n’ Play, home to drag artists such as Missandry Malice, James K, Nyx Nocturne and many others listed on their Facebook page. The first performance I ever watched of Vigor was his Nightgowns performance (here) and it is still one of my favourite performances to this day, as it tells a story of how drag can be used as an exploration of gender.