GRANT #399:

Latvian Drag King Collective

05/18/2020
We Officially Crown The Kings Of Awesomeness (They’re AFABulous)

Women have a good deal of political power in Latvia, a Baltic nation west of Russia. The same cannot be said for women who dress as men, or for the LGBTQIA community. That’s why we’re in awe of the Latvian Drag King Collective, unapologetically defying the social norms and discriminatory laws in order to build a more inclusive society in Latvia and beyond.

Maybe you have heard of drag queens, because RuPaul? There’s no equally famous American drag king, but women dressing as men have a long (and long-hidden) history almost everywhere, including Latvia.

The LDKC wants to record Latvia’s best-known drag king, performance artist Laura Šterna, presenting a lecture on drag king history. It will be recorded in Latvian, with Russian subtitles, so people all over the region can become better informed (and hopefully more open-minded and willing to change the laws). This talk was a big hit at last year’s Latvian Drag King Festival in Riga, the first ever, and the last for a while, for obvious reasons.

That’s why the LDKC has pulled up its big boy pants and pivoted to a six-video series instead of producing a live festival.

The episodes will  showcase the Collective’s collaboration with likeminded organizations in Lithuania and Estonia, promoting their local communities’ programs and events. We’ll get a thoughtful exploration of drag’s impact on gender. Almost everything that would have happened in a live event, including drag king workshops, will be showing up in these videos.

There’s so little information available to the Latvian public about gender, sexuality and non-binary issues. You can probably Google AFAB. There, they might never see the term.

Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help with the expenses of recording and captioning the videos. The LDKC keeps costs low because everything they do is powered by volunteers and mostly funded out of their own pockets.. Those manly, manly pockets.

Check them out here, and follow along with them on Instagram and Facebook!

All photos by Krista Saberova