There have been a few documentaries taking a look behind the scenes at major drag pageants, but The Queens stands out as it focuses on the trans contestants in the Miss Continental competition.
Featuring clips from 40 years worth of the pageant, the documentary follows the journeys of several contestants as they “plan, prepare and plot their paths to victory”. During the film, former winners and competitors talk about about their own experiences – with some of the non-winners a little bitter about their loss.
The Queens also looks at life beyond the pageants, with the trans contestants discussing their transitions and the journeys that led them to compete, including rejection from family and the difficulty in finding true and romantic relationships. Many also discuss the changing opinions in society in regards to the trans community.
Miss Continental was originally founded in 1980 as a trans inclusive pageant, unlike others at the time which excluded members of the trans community from competing.
As the creators of the documentary describe, the filmhighlights and platforms the contestants, “they’re fiercely determined, strikingly imaginative and possess jaw-dropping talent. The Queens will have you cheering for the creative spirit that lives within us all.”
There are a host of familiar faces who pop up throughout the documentary, with quite a few Drag Race queens making an appearance, including Alyssa Edwards, Manila Luzon, Jasmine Masters, Ginger Minj, Nina Flowers, Roxxxy Andrews, Naysha Lopez and Brooke Lynn Hytes. Dominique Jackson, star of TV show Pose, also makes an appearance as a past competitor.
The creators continue, “to some outsiders, and the uninformed, the dolled-up, lip-synched routines… might seem frivolous, perhaps even pointless…but The Queens will show you why creating this illusion and this mystique are a way of life for these performers, as well as thousands of others just like them (and their devoted fans) across the United States and the world.”
The Queens is available to stream here.
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