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Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI

Chapter 10
The Bois of King Vic

Roberta Foster

In The Drag King Book, Del LaGrace Volcano investigates female-to-male (FTM) drag king scenes – which concern the gender performance of female-bodied people assuming masculine attire1 – outside American and English centres. That Australia does not bear mention on his list reveals the understated position of local drag king culture within the international context. The following chapter pays critical attention to this imbalance and focuses upon the thriving drag king scene of Melbourne where it largely plays out at King Victoria (King Vic) drag nights.2 This paper begins by considering some historical perspectives: it explores some Australian cases of gender play in order to locate a queer lineage from which contemporary drag kinging may draw influence. Informed by a series of oral interviews and king performances, the central thrust of the argument provides a theoretical investigation of the contemporary setting of drag king performance as a central component of Melbourne’s lesbian community. The exchange of desire from audience to performer is situated as a powerful relationship that spurs important considerations of bodies, space and identity,3 and international frameworks on gender performativity are applied to the Melbourne drag king scene in order to facilitate a critical awareness of these local subversive acts. The Melbourne drag king scene is a place where queer performances consolidate translesbian4 subjectivity and where translesbian communities, in turn, develop and strengthen the queer agenda – a scene, certainly, that warrants exploration.

A Place in History

Surveying the existence of gender play and lesbian forums in local histories reveals not only a historical foundation for current drag king expression, but also the importance of such scenes in the development of community. While the documentation of FTM drag in the early to mid-twentieth century is scant, it can be uncovered. Male impersonators such as Ella Shields visually epitomise early twentieth century gender play and her presence at the Tivoli (along with other impersonators such as Nellie Cole) reveals a history of parodic gender performativity in Australia.5 Certainly, for some, the conception of drag through the fifties, sixties and seventies took on an intimate form less concerned with conscious gender play than identity. For Jan Hillier (organiser in the 1970s of Pokey’s gay bar), dressing in men’s clothing was a ‘fashion trend’6 integrated into her self-identification as butch. For others, like Noel Tovey, dragging up was ‘the ultimate gesture of defiance against the police’.7 For these people, the drag act existed as a challenging gesture disconnected from identity politics. While motivating factors may be diverse, these expressions provide a structure of gender play from which contemporary drag kings might draw influence and with which they can construct a history.

Before going any further, it is important to acknowledge one problem with this kind of construction: that there is a danger of surveying history from a contemporary vantage point which harbours its own values and motivations. Certainly, the historicising of events and biographies from the past has resulted in certain perspectives or meanings being exalted, and others lost. However, in talking about gender play in Australia and its relationship to contemporary drag expression, I do not aim to introduce these stories or moments into a drag lineage and make them static within this constructed history. Nor do I not wish to reinscribe contemporary meanings upon these histories. Rather, I simply draw them into focus to illustrate how the contemporary drag king world may identify with earlier models and draw strength from their existence. Surveying moments of gender play in Australia within such a framework functions to create a space for biographies and events that are excluded from dominant modes of Australia’s history telling.

Continuing the historical exploration, it is also important to acknowledge the colonial ties of Australia and Australia’s permeability as a colonial nation. The historical documentations of gender play, as expressed by Shields, Cole and Hillier are, of course, indebted to the canonical English images of the Dandy and the ‘mannish lesbian’ or New Woman of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.8 In contemporary Australia, the organiser of King Vic, Bumpy, has stated that the motivations for setting up this forum came from being exposed to a London drag king performance. This capacity for influence has been, and is, characteristic of Australian culture9 and, in terms of gender fucking, evidently a useful one. Furthermore, Australia’s colonial status may provide a key strength behind the dynamic gender play exhibited at King Vic. As Rachel Cook argues ‘pioneering women tended to see femininity as a luxury’10 and the devalued status of hyperfemininity has potentially trickled down through the generations. While this may not be as definitive as Cook contends, the convict element of colonialism can be irrevocably connected to gender play and lesbian history. Writing in the nineteenth century, Dr W. J. Irvine described the sexual relationships between ‘normal’ looking convict women and the ‘pseudo-male’ or ‘man-woman’ at Tasmania’s Ross Female Depot.11 It is thus the young status of Australia’s nationhood, and colonial ties, that has perhaps fostered the richness of Melbourne’s drag king community.12

The importance of the king community to Melbourne translesbian identification, which will be the focus of the next element of this chapter, bears one more connection to Australia’s lesbian history. Through the 1950s Val’s Coffee Lounge was a locus of Melbourne camp activity and its contribution to lesbian subjectivity and belonging is forcefully communicated through the words of its patrons. Val, the shop owner, recalls one customer telling her ‘you absolutely saved my life… [Val’s lounge meant] I would have somewhere that I could go where I felt I was somebody’.13 How Val’s coffee lounge aided the negotiation of personhood and a sense of being is certainly accentuated by Billie who states: ‘I didn’t know the word “lesbian” until I went to Val’s Coffee Lounge. But if anyone asked me from there on if I was a lesbian, I’d say yes’.14 Billie’s self concept as a lesbian is integrally tied to her contact with Val’s Coffee Lounge. Val’s was evidently a place for identifying with other lesbians, and through this relationship, personal lesbian subjectivity was consolidated.

Dragging Up

These identity-forming processes are paralleled in the contemporary Melbourne drag scene. The following section will consider this scene as vital to the Melbourne translesbian community, and by analysing what we might consider the ‘desiring audience’, King Vic can be located as forming translesbian subjectivity and challenging hegemonic organisations of space and spectatorship.

King Vic was set up in June of 2000 by Bumpy and Tom Urge. Speaking of the response to their first drag king night Bumpy remarks, ‘a lot of butch lesbians or whatever, or boy-identifying in some way lesbians, loved it… they were so hungry for something that… reflected themselves a bit’.15 For drag king, Aussie Boy, the King Vic scene is a thriving point of union for the community, for ‘underneath the glued on moustaches… there is a sense of togetherness’.16 Chic Magnet, another performer, confirms the radical impact King Vic made on the lesbian scene when she argues that drag ‘has really opened the community’.17 Indeed, from its beginnings in the new millennium, this kinging has provided, and continues to provide, an antithetical celebration to mainstream lesbian sexualities. Inside King Vic, gender-queer trans and butch-femme sexualities are a pulse to the performances.18 This type of representation challenges a long history of exclusion by lesbian feminism in Australia – a type of political lesbianism lingering since the sixties and seventies19 – which championed a singular sexuality separated from any practice imitating, or referencing, heterosexual sexual/social organisation.20 Lucy, a patron of the king scene, argues that the performance element is important as she sees it as ‘a recognition of types of lesbian desire – of butch/femme lesbian desire and butch/butch desire’.21 King Vic, then, provided an important disjuncture to this trajectory of lesbian identification and still offers a space where trans and butch-femme gender play may find expression in Melbourne.

Performing Identity

Literary critic Debra Moddelmog writes that ‘desire… is formed within all sorts of identity structurings’.22 The reverse can also be true; through desire, subjectivity may take form. This premise can be applied to the drag king himself. Performing king, Justin Sider, discloses that dragging up can ‘let out everything that had always remained buried’.23 By staging masculinity, Sider was able to explore parts of his consciousness that would evolve into his concept of self. Sider’s adoption of facial hair and male clothing, the binding down of his breasts and the process of packing are, in the words of Julie Hanson, ‘the “signs” engaged with and employed by a body in order to literalise and enact its subjectivity’.24 Hanson’s claim that ‘performing becomes synonymous with a certain lived and felt subjectivity and corporeality’25 can certainly be transcribed on the experience of kinging for Sider, and perhaps other gender queer identifying kings. Through the manipulation of the ‘signs’ of the body Sider has, according to theorist Emily Apter, ‘corpor/realised’ his subjectivity.26

While excursions into masculinity are championed as a definitive element of king performances, King Vic is also a forum where the femme subject, often dissolved in butch-femme relations, is vocalised. As Sue-Ellen Case explains ‘the butch-femme couple inhabit the subject position together’.27 According to Judith Halberstam, this coupling can frequently render the femme invisible, her lesbianism ‘disidentified’, because of the prolific assumptions about lesbian masculinity.28 Some acts, such as those by Justin Sider, do replicate this type of coupling – in which femme queerness is rendered butch-dependent through the absence of speaking femme subjects in his performances. In a show in August 2007, ‘Take a Look at my Girlfriend’ (by Gym Class Heroes), Sider performed against the backdrop of three ‘girlfriends’, who each had a number 1, 2, 3 printed onto their tops. At moments in the performance one of the three ‘girlfriends’ turned around and Sider sang, to the audience ‘take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got, not much of a girlfriend, I never seem to get a lot’, and following this, the ‘girlfriend’ walked off stage, without the opportunity to assume any interactive speaking role. In this organisation of stage and play, it was the queerness of Sider’s masculinity which lent sexuality and subjectivity to the ‘femme’ girlfriends – a precise rendition of Halberstam critique of butch/femme coupling and its unequal deployment of lesbian identification.

The performances of Gwendolyne, however, are quite different. Her shows provide an antithesis to Sider’s type of performance and decentralise the masculine-based queerness they propose. In some acts, Gwendolyne (coupled with another drag king), performs such songs as the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Pump It’, where she dresses in high femme attire (including a wig) and assumes the female singing part. In these roles Gwendolyne does not actualise her lesbian subjectivity through the adoption of masculinity but is one of the most popular ‘femmes’ to perform at King Vic. In another act, Gwendolyne does a duet with a drag queen, in which both perform to a Britney Spears song and where the femme position is doubly assumed in a femme and queen extravaganza. Gwendolyne also explores her off-stage femme subjectivity on stage when she performs as a king in the outfit ‘Dykes to Men’. Not only does Gwendolyne, then, succeed in making space for femme identities on stage she also reveals, and consolidates, a flexibility within her presumed monolithic femininity, a dimensionality that is often not accorded the femme position in lesbian cultures. These King Vic performances acknowledge feminine versions of same-sex desire and decouple Halberstam’s femme/butch dyad by exploring independent femme desire. In this way, Gwendolyne’s acts help to secure a public position for femme subjectivity in the Australian queerlesbian community.

The Desiring Audience

These self-concept forming processes of the desired drag king/femme performer are extended to the audience who observe such performances. Writing on discourses of desire, Tara Pauliny states that ‘the relationship between the king, her act, and the audience mimics that of the writer, text and reader’;29 it is the audience which helps to ‘create meaning’ in the drag king setting.30 For those who watch, the drag king becomes a site of desire – they constitute the ‘desiring audience’. This desire is multi-faceted and needs careful deconstruction. First, in desiring the body of the king in a sexual sense, the audience member corporeally experiences her lesbian/queer subjectivity. This type of exchange can be no truer than the desire accorded Melbourne heart-throb, Rocco D’Amore, whose sex-imbued performances have transformed him into a icon of the antipodean drag king world. Furthermore, in the drag king scene it is the gender ambiguity of kinging that can be seen as a key factor for the desiring audience. For the audience, the ‘double body’ of the female king, that is being simultaneously masculine and feminine in exterior and interior, works, in the words of Alexandra Warwick and Deni Cavallaro, at arresting the ‘flow of the gaze whilst simultaneously stimulating it, by provoking and increasing the desire for discovery and possession, hence effecting a magnification of the erotic’.31 Saturated in the visceral experience of lesbian (and/or queer) desire, King Vic works like Val’s Coffee Lounge, offering a space where lesbian subjectivity is corporeally sanctified in a way which constructs and sustains the Australian translesbian community.

The second element of the desiring audience considers a subjectivity which transcends, and complicates, the traditional exchange of sexual desire between performer and patron. Recalling her experience as a drag show audience member, Alan Kumbier writes that she simultaneously wanted ‘to be them and fuck them’.32 She goes on to explain that ‘female fans are empowered with the knowledge that we, too, can posses that dick, can become the performing subjects of our desire’.33 This is transference of subjectivity: the audience member inhabits, through consumption of the show, the body of the drag king and sometimes become kings themselves. Jess, also known as Bust Herr, says that, since seeing a drag performance in Sydney many years ago, he ‘wanted to be up there, to be that’.34 It is important to note that this adoption of roles does not often go ‘full circle’; for some, such as for audience member Rachel Valentine, the mere fantasy landscape of what Torr and Czyzselska call becoming ‘more than [what] a conventional gender role permits’,35 is for her, ‘simply enough’.36 In the words of Judith Butler, by ‘taking the body as a point of departure for an articulation that is not always constrained by the body’,37 the audience inhabits the stage, a realm in which, through disembodiment, they may embody different gender subjectivities.

Before turning to a consideration of how queer is developed in the drag king scene, one more idea surrounding the relationship between performer and audience begs attention. The King Vic space exists as a potent arena where hegemonic arrangements of gaze and spectatorship are challenged. According to film theorist Laura Mulvey, ‘pleasure in looking’38 is historically constructed along the dualisms of active/male and passive/female. This organisation of ‘looking’ dispossesses and dislocates; beneath the male gaze ‘she’, to quote Mary Anne Caws, ‘can neither speak nor think… she may be lit or framed, but she is not whole’.39 Modes of seeing in lesbian/queer communities constitute an opposition to this power divide. The theatre of drag king acts, especially their performance at Opium Den King Vic nights, creates for Australian lesbian communities, in the words of Jan Goulden, a ‘public arena where an ideological transaction’40 between audience and performer might take place. This exchange, especially in how closely it relates to the layered passions already explored, excludes the sexist [male] gaze41 and authors a subjectivity birthed, from what Jill Dolan describes as, ‘a new economy of desire’.42 By partaking of this economy the audience members of King Vic transcend the traditional subject-object division of spectatorship. In King Vic, Mulvey’s analysis of the female spectator as the transvestite viewer is rid of its pejorative connotations; for it is the transvestite, the butch and the femme, the trans, the poofter fags and sissy dykes who constitute a radical spectatorial community.43

Theory in the Physical

Following on from considerations of community, audience, desire and spectatorship, King Vic can also be framed as a space where queer is formulated. The politics of queer, especially in its deconstruction of gender, finds a suitable platform at King Vic, because of its centralisation around lesbian and trans experience and its performative ‘fucking’ with gender on stage. The lesbian subject is in a position, to quote Dolan again, ‘to denaturalise dominant codes by signifying an existence that belies the structure of heterosexual culture and its representations’.44 Lesbian and trans people are what gender theorist Jason Cromwell terms ‘fearful Others’45 as they challenge traditional concepts of fe/maleness. King Vic, then, provides a space for those already on the sexual and gender borderlands to be involved in a performance-based ethic which subverts the social order by presenting people who approximate other genders, but never fully become them. Current King Vic drag king, Koko Ma$$, presents this intermediate place between genders in one performance where she assumes masculine attire and body language for the duration of the song (passing considerably) but concludes her show by undoing her shirt to reveal her bound breasts beneath.

Similar segues into gender ambivalence are perpetuated by the stunning acts of Maniacal Hutchence. In a 2008 performance, Maniacal sang a male cover of ‘I am Woman’, the deep drawl of the vocals enhanced by his suave swagger and costume. The performance’s seemingly analogous arrangement of gender markers was radically undermined by one detail – Maniacal’s shirt was unbuttoned to reveal a lacy bra encasing voluptuous fake breasts. Any lateral organisations of sex and gender continued to be unravelled throughout the show. At one point Maniacal pulls from his pants his drag king bulge, a long red balloon, twisting it into a U shape and reuniting it with his crutch – this time as his vulva. The shows’ enigmatic gender fucking reached a climax at the song’s last line ‘I am Woman’. Maniacal throws his fake breasts into the audience, removes his sunglasses to reveal painted eyelids beneath and then proceeds to wipe away the glittering make-up and facial hair. In this act, Maniacal waltzes without any definite gender identity – stepping towards the audience with a female marker, only to immediately withdraw it. As this playful to and fro heightens, its radical possibilities are magnified, until in a final flourish, Maniacal abandons all significations. Phallus is deserted, breasts are discarded, make-up and moustache are removed and Maniacal completes the miming of his lyrics; standing for one brief moment outside of the song, inside a body released from the gender markers which had, three minutes ago, defined it. These non-passing ‘dangerous actors’ of King Vic present a lived experience of queer, revealing the arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified in gendered organisations of dress and demeanor.

In the masquerade of both femininity and masculinity, King Vic engages with the queer agenda. Here, gender is revealed to Judith Butler’s words, as a ‘persistent impersonation’46 socially constructed as real. Elviro, a performer at King Vic, can be seen as corporeally investigating theories such as Luce Irigaray’s notion of mimesis, where the effects of phallocentric discourse on womanhood are undone through their overdoing.47 Elviro frequents the King Vic stage with the markers of femininity pushed to the extreme; adorned in wigs, flamboyant makeup and stilettos. Her femininity, however, is not played out in the same celebratory manner as Gwendolyne’s. On the contrary, Elviro often performs to heavy raw songs and presents characters that synchronise with their guttural qualities as she draws both her protagonists, and the attentive audience, through pain, grief, sorrow… even murderous rage. Elviro’s hyperfeminine aesthetic, which she sometimes assumes while on stage, aligns her performances with Irigaray’s notion of mimicry – that conscious display, the repeated ‘doing’ of gender.

The emotional potency of Elviro’s acts means, however, that her mimicry is not lost to the trappings of gender binaries, with the disturbing atmosphere evoked further rendering her deconstruction efficacious. Masculinity is played out in a similar way during one of Bumpy’s early performances at King Vic. A duet between himself and another masculine drag king concluded with Bumpy eating his partner’s penis – a vegan sausage. King Vic’s ‘kinged up’ drag acts show that, in the words of Judith Halberstam, ‘masculinity does not belong to men’48 and certainly, in the eating of the penis, Bumpy reduces this ultimate sign of dominant masculinity and power to the consumable – inside the King Vic community the phallus becomes a fallacy.

Finally, King Vic’s adaptation of queer provides local Australian access to this intellectualised political framework, and carves a distinct place for translesbian communities in what is a traditionally gay-male dominated definition of ‘homosexuality’. According to Tasmin Wilton, ‘the contemporary queer/lesbian and gay subcultural infrastructure is dominated by economically privileged gay men’,49 and this is certainly true in an Australian context, where white gay men receive the social benefits not accorded female/trans and/or Indigenous counterparts. The translesbian community is strengthened through the vehicle of queer, and according to audience member Alicia, queer politics are ‘sustained within the pulsing environment of drag king performativity’.50 Drag Kings’ subversive dealings with gender testifies that camp and queer narratives are no longer part of a cultural sensibility only available to male homosexuality and, also, that these themes do not only exist within the postmodern framework of Western academia, but as an integral lived experience of Australia’s translesbian community.

In Conclusion…

Gender performativity in Australia can be historically documented, extending back to settlement and, as this chapter proposes, related to colonisation and convict histories. In this rich history, female adaptations of gender are, for some, a self-conscious radical play; for others they are an integrated expression of identity. Whatever the motivations, these types of gender excursions provide a historical framework with which to view the contemporary Melbourne drag king scene at King Vic. Drag kinging in Melbourne is an integral component of the sustainability of the local translesbian community. Through performance, it is the performers and the audience, both teetering on the edge of sexual and gender limits, which construct subjectivity, and community, through an exchange of a multifaceted desire. This community is a place where new concepts of spectatorship are negotiated and in which queer becomes a lived experience in Melbourne. King Vic is a site where subjectivity, bodies, space and spectatorship are radically reinscribed: challenges which are integral to the Melbourne translesbian community, and indeed, vital to the diversification of Australian culture.51

Endnotes - Chapter 10

1 This type of description does not assume the gender or sexual identity of the performers considered in this paper and ‘he’ will be used as a generic pronoun in order to respect on stage, and off stage, identifications. LaGrace Volcano and Judith Halberstam are considered the pioneers of drag king theory in the international scene producing photographic and literary commentaries on kinging.

2 King Victoria has been the first systematised drag king performance night in Melbourne. Established in 2000, its key organiser is Bumpy and the venue for its duration had been Star, recently re-named the Opium Den.

3 Drag king space is a site in which issues of race are explored, although this chapter is too narrow a forum to investigate these issues. For further discussions, see, Judith Halberstam, ‘Mackdaddy, Superfly, Rapper: Gender, Race, and Masculinity in the Drag King Scene’, Social Text, no. 52/53 (1997), pp. 104–131.

4 The term ‘translesbian’ was developed by Bumpy to explain the intersections between lesbian and trans communities (namely to female-to-male) and the overlap of identities, genders and sexualities that occur within this diverse community.

5 Frank Van Straten, Tivoli, South Melbourne: Lothian, 2003.

6 Chris Beck, ‘On the Couch: Interview with Jan Hillier (Gay Entrepreneur)’, Age, 7 December 1996.

7 Noel Tovey, Little Black Bastard: A Story of Survival, Sydney: Hodder, 2004, p. 121.

8 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, ‘Discourses of Sexuality and Subjectivity: The New Woman, 1870–1936’, in Martin Duberman et al., eds, Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, London; Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 1991, pp. 264–280.

9 Ian McLean has argued that across history non-Aboriginal Australians have consistently sought to ‘negotiate a subjectivity’ as a result of the status of Australia as a colonial nation. This is done, he argues, ‘by either purloining the identity of their origin, or by seeking a new nativism sprung from a terra nullius’. The traditional dependency on England, or new alliances to America, for example, are an expression of this struggle for identity and a key element of Australia’s cultural permeability. Ian McLean, ‘Gordon Bennett’s Existentialism’, in Ian McLean and Gordon Bennett, eds, The Art of Gordon Bennett, Roseville East, NSW: Craftsman House, 1996, pp. 65–71.

10 Rachel Cook, ‘An Interview with Judith Halberstam’, Slit Magazine, p. 28.

11 Kay Daniels, Convict Women, St Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin, 1998, pp. 165–166.

12 This analysis of history can of course be seen as aiding king communities in other parts of Australia, however, as this chapter considers the microcosm of King Vic, Melbourne becomes the point of reference in this discussion.

13 Ruth Ford, ‘Val: The Interview’, in The Travelling Mind of Val Eastwood, Melbourne: Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA), 2010.

14 Billie, interview with Lucy Chesser, 31 March 1993, ALGA Collection.

15 Bumpy and Lee Bruce Lee, interview with Daniel Vaughan, 21 September 2001, ALGA collection.

16 Sally, also known as Aussie Boy, interview with Daniel Vaughan, 29 September 2001, ALGA collection.

17 Chic Magnet, interview with Daniel Vaughan, 13 October 2001, ALGA collection.

18 King Lee Bruce Lee states that ‘the transgender element is really important as well, King Victoria has always pushed that side of it, to not be afraid’. See, Bumpy and Lee Bruce Lee, interview with Daniel Vaughan, 21 September 2001.

19 While radical feminism has its roots in English and American feminism, Australian radical feminism developed slightly later. The inclusion of radical feminist politics at institutions such as Melbourne University (where Sheila Jeffrey researches and teaches) and the existence of websites such as http://www.the-fury.net/ (a young radical lesbian source) show radical feminism’s still-relevant position today.

20 Judith Roof, ‘1970s Lesbian Feminism Meets 1990s Butch-Femme’, in Sally R. Munt and Cherry Smyth, eds, Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender, London: Cassell, 1998, pp. 28–29.

21 Jess also known as Bust Herr and Lucy De Kretser, 15 October 2007.

22 Debra Moddelmog, Reading Desire: In Pursuit of Ernest Hemingway, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999, p. 5.

23 Justin Sider, interview with Bree Taber, 23 February 2008.

24 Julie Hanson, ‘Drag Kinging: Embodied Acts and Acts of Embodiment’, Body and Society, vol. 13, no. 1 (2007), p. 74.

25 ibid.

26 Emily Apter, ‘Acting Out Orientalism: Sapphic Theatricality in Turn-of-Century Paris’, in Elin Diamond, ed., Performance and Cultural Politics, London: Routledge, 1996, p. 23.

27 Sue-Ellen Case, Feminism and Theatre, USA: Routledge, 1994, p. 34.

28 Judith Halberstam, ‘Between Butches’, in Munt and Smyth, eds, Butch/Femme, pp. 57–58.

29 Tara Pauliny, ‘Erotic Arguments and Persuasive Acts: Discourses of Desire and the Rhetoric of Female-to-Male Drag’, Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 43, no. 3/4 (2002), p. 229.

30 ibid., p. 231.

31 Alexandra Warwick and Dani Cavallaro, Fashioning the Frame: Boundaries, Dress and the Body, Oxford; New York: Berg Publishers, 1998, p. xxi.

32 Alana Kumbier, ‘One Body, Some Genders: Drag Performances and Technologies’, in Donna Troka et al., eds, The Drag King Anthology, New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002, pp. 197–198.

33 ibid.

34 Bust Herr and De Kretser, 15 October 2007.

35 Diane Torr and Jane Czyzselska, ‘Drag Kings and Subjects’, in Nina Rapi and Maya Chowdhry, eds, Acts of Passion: Sexuality, Gender and Performance, New York: The Haworth Press, 1998, pp. 237–238.

36 Rachel Valentine, interview with Roberta Foster, 18 August 2007.

37 Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, New York: Routledge, 2004, p. 28.

38 Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Theatre’, Screen, vol. 16, no. 3 (1975), p. 11.

39 Mary Anne Caws, The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1997, p. 54.

40 Jan Goulden, ‘From Stage to Screen and Back: Tash Fairbanks’ Nocturne Shedding Some Light on Lesbian Representation, and the Performance of Lesbian Desire’, in Rapi and Chowdhry, eds, Acts of Passion, pp. 146–147.

41 K. Davy, ‘Constructing the Spectator: Reception, Context, and Address in Lesbian Performance’, Performing Arts Journal, vol. 29 (1986), p. 48.

42 Jill Dolan, ‘Desire Cloaked in a Trenchcoat’, The Drama Review, vol. 33 (1989), p. 64.

43 Laura Mulvey, The Cinema Book (Classical Film Narrative), 2nd edn, London: BFI, 1989.

44 Jill Dolan, The Feminist Spectator as Critic, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1988, p. 116.

45 Jason Cromwell, ‘Fearful Others: Medico-Psychological Constructions of Female-Male Trangenderism’, in Dallas Denny, ed., Current Concepts in Transgender Identity, New York: Garland Publishing, 1998, pp. 120–121.

46 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, 1990, p. 30.

47 Tori Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory, London: Methuen, 1985, p. 140.

48 Judith ‘Jack’ Halberstam, Female Masculinity, Durham: Duke University Press, 1998, p. 139.

49 Tasmin Wilton, Lesbian Studies: Setting an Agenda, London: Routledge, 1995, p. 17.

50 Alicia, interview with Roberta Foster, 30 October 2007.

51 The consideration of King Victoria community with the broader Australian cultural setting is one area for potential future research.

Cite this chapter as: Foster, Roberta. 2011. ‘The Bois of King Vic’, in Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI, edited by Smaal, Yorick; Willett, Graham. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing. pp. 156–167.

Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI

   by Yorick Smaal, Graham Willett