Artists Statement

Lara Muffley is an artist obsessed with spray paint, stencils and all things drag. Her ‘GQ’ stencil portrait series began as a tribute to drag kings which eventually evolved to encompass individuals in a larger genderqueer context. Judith Halberstams work on ‘female masculinity’ has very much informed her project. Muffley’s medium is primarily acrylic spray paint on either wood support or canvas.
The individuals listed below are featured in the show. The list is by no means complete, but is part of an effort to draw attention to outstanding individuals who fit under the ‘female masculinity’ umbrella. You are encouraged to follow the myriad of links which give greater biographical detail for each person.

Project Description and my bio (pdf)

Judith Halberstam

Judith "Jack" Halberstam - gender theory scholar, author of 'Female Masculinity'.

“For me, the term female masculinity also records what can only be called a "taxonomical impulse." My book argues for greater taxonomical complexity in our queer histories. Unlike a theorist like Butler who sees categories as perpetually suspect, I embrace categorization as a way of creating places for acts, identities and modes of being which otherwise remain unnamable.”

“I think that in the past female masculinity has actually tended not to work as a category of self- identification but as something that a woman might get called - "she's a masculine woman," "she's mannish" - that stops short of lesbian. Women have been identified as masculine in mostly negative ways as Esther Newton pointed out in "The Mythic Mannish Lesbian" - the mannish woman is mythic because omnipresent and transhistorical but also mythic because she is the stereotype against whom all other lesbians are judged. I try to occupy the category of female masculinity, make myself at home in it and making it hospitable to others who have felt either left "outside belonging" (as Elspeth Probyn puts it) or who have felt penalized by their masculinity.”


Katastrophe aka Rocco Kayiatos - transgender singer, hiphop lyricist. Check out his most recent video clip!

From the song “Enough Man”
My girl makes me feel like a real man
even though I have to stand with a needle in my hand
plan so I don't land fetal in the can
inch and a half pin prick- stick
so I can be a dude with an inch and a half thin dick- trick
so when you hear i am trans i can say nice grin slick
I win big either way i play, gay or straight
I make it so you can't concentrate and while you hate
your baby girl's like "hey wait,
he looks good, his sound's tight too"
-and my shit's new and your shit's through..

JD Samson

JD Samson- musician, band member of LeTigre

"All the kids from my town in Ohio mustache-bashed me and suggested all kinds of remedies like bleaching and waxing," but later had a realization after a friends pep talk that "the mustache that I had tried desperately to hide all my life was in fact hot," she said. "It's a measure of masculinity that I was so lucky to be born with. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. 'Reclaim it, J D, love it! Take what other people said was ugly your whole life and make it beautiful.' Sometimes I think of my mustache as my armor."

Todoroki Yuu

Todoroki Yuu- Actor (Otokoyaku) in Japans all womens theatre group, Takarazuka Revue, established in 1913

One online fan comments “Yuu acts like a man better than any other Takarasienne I have watched. She really is believable.”

Mo B. Dick

Maureen Fischer 'Mo B. Dick' - actor , drag king

“Instead of being an angry woman, I became a funny man!”

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller- Performance Artist, founder of Circus Amok. Be sure to check out the short documentary film called Juggling Gender to learn more about Miller

When asked why she doesnt shave Jennifer replies "The answer's constantly changing," she says. "It's complex, not a sound bite. Comfort plays a role. And there would be a dark shadow. People would suspect. Electrolysis is unhealthy, painful and expensive. If it were a one-time thing, I might have done it. But if I didn't keep my beard, it would be a statement of hopelessness. Keeping secrets requires energy that's debilitating, especially when it's out of shame or fear."

Elvis Herselvis and Harry Dodge

Harriet 'Harry' Dodge - writer, director, actor, visual artist
Leigh Crow 'Elvis Herselvis' - drag king, elvis impersonator

Crow -"It's not so strange. Elvis was the original gender-bender, in the 1950s, people were afraid of the way he danced. They thought he was gay. He broke down walls."

Dodge-On the film BY HOOK OR BY CROOK - "We wanted to make our stamp on butch representation and have a little more visibility."


Mildred Gerestant 'Dred' - drag king, gender illusionist-performance artist

"I've been butch and femme, top and bottom and so drag feels natural to me. As a child I grew up shy. I was teased a lot. I was the ugly duckling. Now I'm one of the popular ones.”

Del Lagrace Volcano

Del Lagrace Volcano- gender abolutionist, photographer, visual artist

“In a previous incarnation I was known as Della Grace, lesbian photographer. That lasted nearly twenty years and was a handle I was proud to grip…What you need to understand about me is that I am a mutant and I always have been. I'm not the only one but lets face it, most people prefer stability, especially when it comes to gender. The binary imperative demands we make a definitive choice. One sex one body. Male or Female. Homo or Hetero. Yin and Yang. Its a given, or rather its what we've been given. In some ways its the last bastion of civilization as we know it. One of the few titanics left to us at millenniums edge.”

Patrick Califia

Patrick Califia-transgender author

"I wish that people would be a little more humble about our ability to accurately capture another person's reality within a word or two. We need to be aware that it's normal for identity to fluctuate over the course of a person's life, or from one relationship to another. And we need to be gentle with ourselves and others when those changes happen. It's also important to see those labels as approximations that should always be open to correction or revision.”

Anderson Toone

Anderson Toone- transman, drag king and musician

His song SecretFTM- sung to the tune of ‘SECRET AGENT MAN’-

There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets, he stays a stranger
With every shot of T he takes, another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow

Secret FTM
Secret FTM
They designate your gender
and mispronoun your name

Murray Hill

Murray Hill- entertainer, drag king extraordinaire.

“Pretty much everybody knows what a drag queen is. For drag kings, it’s still pretty underground… Culturally, I think it’s time, I think people are ready.“

Jamison Green

Jamison Green- FTM writer, transgender activist

"Although I was always male-gendered, I never really felt like I was born into the wrong body, exactly.” Jamison says, “rather than saying there was something 'wrong' with me, I'm saying there was something unbalanced about me. There is just a huge amount of variety and diversity among human beings and I am privileged to be able to change my sex to make my gender and body line up."

Leslie Feinberg

Leslie Feinberg- transgender activist, writer

"Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."

"I am a human being who would rather not be addressed as Ms. or Mr., ma'am or sir. I prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns like sie (pronounced like 'see') and hir (pronounced like 'here') to describe myself." She says, "I'm not at odds with the fact that I was born female-bodied. Nor do I identify as an intermediate sex. I simply do not fit the prevalent Western concepts of what a woman or a man 'should' look like."


Phranc- genderbending singer with a flat-top (with a punk past and a folksinging present) - and one last word... tupperware!

"It was my brother's haircut. I wanted it for myself from the time I was a little kid."

Diane Torr

Diane Torr- Scottish born performance artist, and drag king

The rules of male behavior, summed up below by Jim Cross, one of Torr's many male personas.

"I'm here tonight on behalf of the American Society of Men to give you your first lesson on how to gain and retain respect. Rule number one: territory. When you walk into a room, have a sense of ownership; don't be intimidated. You want a sense that your feet own the ground under each step you take. I often give my clients an image of being in a castle with a moat around you. In this way, you maintain a sense of boundaries; don't let anybody enter your space. Don't budge. And when you walk into a room for the first time, act like you've been there before; it's not the first time you've seen a dead cat before. Don't be intimidated. Every thing you look at, you could own, or you do own. That is the sense you want to convey.

Rule number two: stop smiling. When you smile, it's an act of friendliness; you're conceding territory. It could make you open for exploitation. It's very nice to see women smiling; it makes them appealing, unthreatening. But as a man, it's important that you allow no way that somebody can permeate you. Maintain a sense of your decision-making capability at all times.”

Peggy Shaw

Peggy Shaw- legendary playwright, producer, cross-dressing actor

“I don't always try to pass as a man, although people often think I am one,"

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) Mexican born painter, gender-bending revolutionary

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

Vesta Tilley

Vesta Tilley (1864-1952) British born vaudeville performer- male impersonator

Excerpt from a fan letter-
“I venture to write and ask you if you would be so kind as to sing ‘Following in Father's Footstep’s’ and the song, which I think is one of your latest, where you are dressed as a wounded Tommy in Hospital Blue."

Isabelle Eberhardt

Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904) Swiss born explorer and writer who traveled and lived in North Africa. She converted to Islam and dressed as a man and calling herself Si Mahmoud Essadi

“A nomad I was even when I was very small, and would stare at the spellbinding white road headed straight for the unknown, and I shall stay a nomad all my life, in love with changing horizons and unexplored far away places, for any voyage, even to the most crowded and well traveled places, or the most familiar, is an exploration.”

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992)-Famous German born gender bending actor

“I am at heart a gentleman.”

Big Mama Thornton

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (1926-1984) - Blues singer and songwriter who dressed in mens clothing in her later years. (check out her performance of "Hound Dog" in this wonderful video clip)

Gladys Bentley

Gladys Bently (1907-1960) was a popular entertainer and recording artist during the Harlem Renaissance.

"It seems I was born different. At least, I always thought so ...
soon I began to feel more comfortable in boys clothes than in dresses."