Sarah Lawrence grad wins contest, fights stereotypes

courtesy of Hyphen Magazine

Recent Sarah Lawrence graduate Kyle Chu, hailing from San Francisco, won the 2010 Mr. Hyphen contest, an event somewhat based on more traditional beauty pageants and the “signature” event of Hyphen Magazine. Chu discusses his drag performance to Queen, one of the many factors contributing his win. On choosing to do this performance, Chu explains that he wanted to use drag as a “queer tradition” to bring attention to the fact that gender is fluid and that there are a plurality of ways to be masculine. Chu’s $1,000 prize goes to his charity of choice, the Center for Asian American Media. Having interned at the Center, Chu also chose it based on his own encounters with racism, telling a hurtful personal story to illustrate how important these efforts to fight stereotypes and media misrepresentations are. To hear Chu’s far more eloquent explanations, please listen to the full NPR interview here.

— Kate Wadkins

Interview with Victoria Gugenheim

by Jessie Nash

Photo courtesy of Marcus T.

When British visual artist Victoria Gugenheim told me she was performing as a female drag queen in a show called “Kinky Salon” at the London venue, The Resistance Gallery, my first image was that of a drag king. It took me a few seconds to extract the real meaning from the term ‘female drag queen’ and ask “Wait, what?”

“Female drag queens” are sometimes described by the LGBT community – according to the LGBT Info Wiki – as “Faux Queens.” I was embarrassed to admit this concept was unfamiliar to me.  I’ve known about drag kings and queens since my teen experiences with the LGBT scene. I learned quickly not make assumptions about the sexuality or identity of those performing. Yet I could not recall ever seeing a female drag queen show. In simple terms, a female drag queen is a biological female performing in the traditional drag queen style usually employed by men. For Victoria there is also an element of her sexuality and gender identity involved. She describes herself as: “A riot grrrl who’s a gay man, who’s a drag queen, trapped in a woman’s body.” Of course it made perfect sense after that, and I wondered how the whole thing had passed me by. Continue reading