The New York TimesThe New York Times

Drag Kings Are Ready to Rule

04 Mar 2021 · 9 min read

It should not be a big hairy deal that a 32-year-old Chicago-based drag performer named Tenderoni will be vying in a virtual talent competition Sunday, and yet it is truly a reason to wig out.

The pageant is called Drag Queen of the Year 2021. But despite a penchant for lip-syncing to Missy Elliott, Tenderoni isn’t a drag queen. He’s a drag king, which, generally speaking, means a performer born female who takes the stage in men’s clothes. He is what was once called a “male impersonator,” penciled-on mustache, compressed chest and all.

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