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119 Cards to Collect!

The International Drag King Community Extravaganza is dedicated to artists, theorists, performers and activists participating in and contributing to a growing international drag king community. My personal involvement with IDKE began in 2005 when I joined the IDKE 7 committee hosted by Gender Play Cabaret in Winnipeg, Manitoba. My contributions to IDKE 7 fostered my interest in the world drag king community and paralleled my own artistic inquiries into femaleness and gender.

My last body of work explored notions of identity, and self acclamation, specifically as it pertains to the word “butch” and what it means to women who embrace the term within a specific generation of the queer community in the city of Vancouver. While painting portraits of women who identify as butch, I discovered their contributions to feminist and gay rights activist movements in Canada as well as how their identities created discussion and conflict within those movements. I was interested in exploring the correlation between these butch women and my own sense of identity within a queer culture and community.

There are obvious links between this thematic and my recent interest in the drag king community. Both explore gender in performance or appearance, often through the creation or physical manifestation of self-identities and a performative character. Both the naming of the self (as found in the self proclamation of a butch) and the performance of an alter ego/gender (as may be done through drag king performance) challenge status quo norms. I have begun exploring the different identities visible within my own queer community and how they change through time amidst constantly changing political landscapes.

I participated in the 8th annual International Drag King Community Extravaganza (IDKE) in Austin Texas entitled “Uncharted Territories: Gender Exploration Down South”. At IDKE 8 events I invited drag performers to have their photos taken. Each participant filled out an identity information questionnaire that was used as a source for the information found on the trading card. Each king was given licence to creatively express his/her/their identity however he/she/they desired. The information located on the back of each card is unique to each king. Statistical information such as the king’s name, their preferred identity, sexual orientation, height, eye colour as well as a personal anecdote or quote are included.

Ideas of fame and pop icon attraction are explored as each king posed for the photograph in performative character. The Drag King Trading Cards incite the idea of the drag king as pop celebrity or icon, giving these individuals star status and valorizing their commitments to activism and gender performance.

My intent is to continue this project. If you are interested in participating please contact me at dragkingtradingcards@mts.net. Thank you for visiting this website.