Meet the Arab World’s Drag Queens

Support your local drag queens.

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Drag was part of our history…until it wasn’t. 

Cross dressing was a very popular form of entertainment during the Ottoman period. As early as the 16th century, troops called Kocek (boys who dressed as girls) and Cengi (girls who dressed as boys) would dance and sing with no fear of persecution, for it was truly regarded as an art form.

Even The Planet of The East herself, Umm Kulthum, dressed in boy drag as a young performer trying to prove herself in the entertainment scene.

Postcard of a Kocek cross dresser from the 19th century.

Postcard of a Kocek cross dresser from the 19th century.

Egyptian women cross dressers from the early 20th century.

Egyptian women cross dressers from the early 20th century.

Less can be said in favor of the environment the modern day drag queens of the region find themselves in. But we are here to recognize their contributions to the art form and their undeniable uniqueness, nerve and talent. 

Aside from the Rupaul drag race competing queens, Aja who’s of Egyptian and Moroccan descent  and Shangela who is of Saudi origin, we’ve come up with a list of 10 drag queens from the region that need our support. 

ANDRÉA

 

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Andréa is a Beirut-based Lebanese Drag Queen, fashion student, stylist and make-up artist.

Queen Sultana

Queen Sultana is another Lebanese Drag Queen who made headlines earlier this year by appearing in full drag on Lebanese national television channel Al Hurra, discussing the art of drag and what it means to be a drag performer in Arab societies. 

La Kahena

Tunisian Drag Queen based in Tunis and Paris. The self-proclaimed Berber Queen is “a comedian at heart and a supermodel by necessity”. Earlier this year, she became one of the first drag queens to perform in L’institut du Monde Arabe.

Hoedy Saad

 

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Another Lebanese queen, choreographer and member of the drag house of Ego bringing camp to the Beirut drag scene. In addition to being a fierce queen and club kid, Hoedy is also a trained veterinarian.

Amrou Al Kadhi aka Glamrou

 

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Glamrou is an Iraqi-British Drag Queen, filmmaker and writer whose work focuses on queer identity, cultural representation and racial politics.

Ana Masreya 

 

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Egyptian Drag Queen who’s considered as an Arab icon in the New York City Drag scene. She started the first Egyptian themed cabaret show Nefertitties.

Khookha McQueer

Tunisian Drag Queen, visual artist and performer. Feminist and activist, Khookha advocates for non-binary queerness.

DIVA 

 

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Lebanese French Armenian Drag Queen, stylist and member of the drag house of Ego.

Shayma AlQueer

Shayma is a Tunisian Drag hostess, DJ and Make-up Artist based in Germany. 

Queen Latiza Bombé

Another Lebanese queen bringing glamour (and terror) with her looks to the growing drag scene in Beirut.

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