Queens of the South Plains: Collected oral histories of drag queens living in Lubbock, TX

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2013-05

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Abstract

In my dissertation research, Queens of the South Plains: Collected Oral Histories of Drag Queens Living in Lubbock, Texas, I am collecting oral histories of five Lubbock, Texas performance artists who participate or have participated in local drag queen shows and culture: Thomas Mims, Devon Nicole, and Damion Davis, Audrianna Guillen, and Chris Wheeler. I utilize oral histories because no other institutional histories exist. Academically, there is a large amount of research on drag histories in metropolitan areas and on non-metropolitan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, questioning, queer and intersexed (LGBTQ) lives, but there is very little, if any, research that connects these two fields of study. Since the early 1990s, there has been a small but growing body of literature and art documenting rural and non-metropolitan spaces and lives. However, other than the collected interviews of two rural drag queens in the documentary film Small Town Gay Bar scant literature exists on drag queens in rural areas. In this study, I conduct face-to-face interviews with five subjects that I document through audio recordings using a semi-structured interview format. In addition to the five subjects/performers, I conduct supplemental interviews of people involved in the subjects’ lives to gain a broader perspective of small city drag culture in Lubbock as a non-metropolitan setting. The literature review of urban drag queen cultures and rural queer lives is juxtaposed against the contexts and invisible histories of the lives of drag queens in rural/non-metropolitan settings. This research is a small step in bridging the gap in academic research connecting drag queen culture and research on rural and non-metropolitan LGBTQ lives.

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Keywords

Drag cultures, Oral histories, Rural, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer (LGBTQ), West Texas, Female impersonators, Drag queens, Lubbock, Transexual, Transgender, Gender, Feminism, Queer

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