A Gender and Sexuality Bi-annual

Issue 2

Kings and Queens

The second issue of Qurbatein is inspired by the rich histories of role-play that extend across Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra to Bulleh Shah’s poetry to Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Over time, boundaries of gender and sexuality have often been reimagined in the language of royalty. The historic “lords” of Sufi poetry are echoed by current-day drag “kings and queens.” The performance of non-normative sexuality is bolstered by the register of royalty. This issue aims to think about the frequent intercourse between high and low, normative and marginalised, queen and courtesan, that have marked histories of sexuality around the world. We examine the interface between royalty and sexuality, broadly defined. Is it a drag to be King? What is the role of the body in the performance of sexuality? How does class impact the politics of sexuality? Why do we talk about kings and queens while describing often deeply-marginalised populations and practices?