Drag King Dreams Deferred
This afterword shifts the book’s methodological imperative—to read emerging sexual and gendered identities through the lens of nationalism—from the turn of the twentieth century in Britain to the turn of the twenty-first in the United States. It situates the rise of transgender identities alongside post-September 11, 2001, nationalism and state repression in the United States through a reading of transgender author and activist Leslie Feinberg’s novel of “genderqueer” antiwar solidarities Drag King Dreams. In this dialectical novel of solidarity and struggle on the streets of New York City following September 11, Feinberg draws nationalist oppressors against a multicultural and multinational mix of genderqueers, drag kings, and straight and gay immigrants. Sexual and gender identities become the means through which U.S.-born characters can work in solidarity with recent immigrants, and their resistance to the state allows articulations of complex gender and sexual identities. Like the wartime and postwar novels discussed in the previous chapters, Drag King Dreams relies on structures of nationalism and struggle to produce queer inversions.
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