QUEER VOICES

Kevin Frayer, Photographer, Showcases Stunning Drag Queens In China (PHOTOS)

03/08/2015 09:35 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

chinese drag queen

Even though queerness may manifest itself and be understood differently in China than other parts of the world, the country still has some very recognizable emblems of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- including drag queens.

Photographer Kevin Frayer provided The Huffington Post with this compelling compilation of photographs documenting drag performers in the Nanning, Guangxi Province of Southern China. All of these drag queens operate out of the same night club, with many of them living and building community with one another outside of work.

The Huffington Post chatted with Frayer this week about his experiences documenting these performers. Check out some of the photographer's work below, as well as a brief interview.

The Huffington Post: Why did you decide to embark on the project?
Kevin Frayer: I am always looking for a unique view of China. Things exist here just as they do everywhere else, and it's important to highlight all elements of society -- to give a fuller view. And often they are wonderful stories to share.

Who are the drag queens involved in the project? Do they all primarily operate out of clubs?
The drag queens showcased in my photographs work in the same night club. Some of them live and socialize together, and some are in relationships with each other. They are really wonderful people -- warm, engaging, honest and inviting. It is nice to share their experience with others.

What is life like for a drag queen in China?
They have the same daily challenges as anyone else but also have the struggle of trying to navigate obstacles and attitudes. China is not an easy place sometimes, but for many they face the greatest difficulty in finding acceptance from their families.

What do you want people to take away from these images?
Primarily, I want people to see that there is more to life and living in China than the cliché view. With the drag queens, it is simply a small vignette of their lives… how some came from other cities and towns and are finding a sense of acceptance and community, as well as creative fulfillment in performing together.

  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Caomei adjusts her bra backstage before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 9, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queens get ready backstage before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 10, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China.
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Baomei smokes a cigarette with another performer backstage at the Chunai 98 club on January 9, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Mianbao performs for customers at the Chunai 98 club on January 10, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Caomei applies make-up before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 11, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Baomei laughs while getting ready before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 10, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China.
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queens perform at the Chunai 98 club on January 9, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Caomei puts on fake eyelashes backstage before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 10, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen who goes by the stage name Wudi practices before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 11, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China.
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen who goes by the stage name Caomei adjusts his outfit backstage before performing at the Chunai 98 club on January 9, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China.
  • Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
    Chinese drag queen Wudi, out of costume, puts on lipstick while at home near the Chunai 98 club on January 11, 2015 in Nanning, Guangxi Province, southern China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Drag Performers in China
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