Kings, Queens and Inbetweens: Diversity in Phoenix’s Drag Scene

Drag queens have soared in popularity within the last decade, gaining national attention from TV shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and The Boulet Brothers' Dragula. Drag artists perform in shows, host events, compete in pageants and provide entertainment across the Phoenix area. I set out to learn more about this growing community and capture scenes to provide a peek into the world of drag. 


I spent six months attending over 15 different drag shows and worked closely with ten different artists. In my reporting, I came to find that drag is so much more than I was aware of. In addition to male drag queen performers, I met a wide variety of artists of different genders, races, and performance styles all sharing the stage in Phoenix. These included drag queens, kings, assigned female-at-birth queens, alternative performers, non-binary kings and horror drag artists, each with their own unique style and view of what drag can be.

I slowly learned that these non-traditional artists all shared similar stories of overcoming adversity in order to compete with traditional drag queen artists. I think Freddy Prinze Charming, a transgender drag king, said it best; “Even in a world where men dress as women, it’s still male dominated at the end of the day.” 


This is their story.


Below are some of my favorite moments captured, including some previously unpublished images. To see the full story published on Cronkite news, click on the button below.