Queer or straight, women perform their femaleness both within and against societal gender rules that dictate what women should be. In a patriarchal framework we work harder to establish our womanhood against norms that trap us in limited niches – of so called ‘feminine’ self-expression. Drag kings – women dressed in masculine drag personify and perform male gender. This is the story of how thirteen queer women from WHAQ! (We’re Here and Queer!) aimed to capture the raw masculine energy and style in them and hence sneaked out of their female bodies. They dreamed to bend gender. Being drag kings was of course a pleasurable pursuit, but to them, it was more about erasing restrictive gender guidelines or definitions. That these gender-bending rebels are a group of ‘female only’ identified women playing at being men is a mere backdrop to the resistance movement they have launched – a revolution of sorts.
All images from the series ManiFest, Bangalore, 2012