While her initiation was less than warm, Monson was able to perform that night and found herself inspired to continue pursuing the art form. Soon, she would be performing in the now-defunct District 202, an LGBT nightclub for people under age 20, as well as Lush and the Town House Bar.
“It’s not quite as accessible as it used to be,” Monson said of the current drag king landscape. “If you’re under 21, there aren’t a ton of places you can perform.”
In an effort to change that perception, this past year Monson began producing a monthly drag king showcase, Machismo, at the Gay 90’s, which allowed drag kings ages 18 and up to grab the spotlight.
“We call the 90’s the gay zoo,” Monson said, laughing. “It’s where a lot of straight people go for their first drag show, and we say it’s where straight people go to see the queens. By putting on a show each month, we’re able to draw in a new audience.”
Sadly, Machismo was discontinued at the end of August, limiting the number of drag-king-friendly shows around town.
Still, Monson insists that the scene is continuing to grow, thanks to an influx of new talent as well as an organic shift in how performers are approaching the art. She continues to co-producer the Dragged Out show at the Town House, keeping the door open for new and emerging talents to perform alongside seasoned veterans.
“There are a lot of newer people coming into the scene now, and I think that’s a positive for everyone involved,” Monson said. “There are some people who have egos just like anything else, but overall I’d say that we’re a very collaborative community, helping each other with costumes or makeup.”