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Celebrating Boy Michael: And Their Win for Kings!

drag king kings of joy kings of joy all-stars Jan 25, 2024

If you have not yet heard Rae aka Boy Michael’s podcast interview on ABC Earshot where they shared about coming out as non-binary, you are in for a treat. Released on Christmas Day (Merry Christmas!) at the end of 2023, their story is an uplifting and inspiring journey of gender, self-discovery and Drag King performance.

Rae’s journey into becoming Boy Michael began during the Kings of Joy All-Stars program in 2021. Show Ponies, my dance program for Divas (dance tributes to pop icons) - ran concurrently, featuring the beautiful Drag Queer, Miss Understood, aka Daniele who also happens to be Rae’s chosen mother!

You’ll hear from both Daniele and myself as The King Coach in this delightful and inspiring story about Rae’s gender journey, produced by Celine Teo-Blockey on ABC’s Radio National - Earshot.

Having discovered their identity as non-binary later in life at age 43, Rae shares candidly about their past relationships including being married to their male best friend before realising their queer and gender identity was neither fully expressed nor celebrated.

Their exploration of gender continued through their Drag King persona Boy Michael. Performing with Kings of Joy helped Ray explore masculinity and a full spectrum of gender expression through Drag. 

They say it best so let’s hear from them…

“Joining the Kings of Joy All Stars was such a joyous experience for me. With the support of a group (my bros) and the guidance of our incredible Drag King Mother (Danica Lani)  I overcome a lot of fears around my gender expression. 

Getting to know Boy Michael (my drag king persona) was like a new love affair, I was shy and I really wanted to be the best person I could be for them. Through the weeks of training and the acceptance of the group, it felt like coming home. 

Now he is very much a part of me and I’m not only more at peace with my masculinity but also my femininity. I’m excited about where this can take me and how I can share this not only through performance but in my everyday life and with those who love me.

Rae’s evolution of Boy Michael certainly did play out in their everyday life. Last year during the Sydney WorldPride Opening Ceremony, Boy Michael performed alongside Sexy Galexy and JSTARR in a Priscilla Queen of the Desert tribute.

Leading up to the performance, they had concerns about the costume choice the producers had made: blue singlets, red checkered shirts, Blundstone boots and an Akubra hat. As Rae pointed out, the only scene in Priscilla where you see this outfit is when one of the Queen’s is being chased by a bunch of Australian blokes who attempt to rape her. The ultimate illustration of toxic masculinity.

The group pushed back, taking a stand against perpetuating such a negative stereotype. Left to make their own costumes, they came up with a sexy, rhinestone glittery camp cowboy look. 

As Rae said, “It’s been a win for the Kings.”

Finding community and support through their queer family like Daniele and performing Drag has empowered them to express their gender and queerness in liberating ways. Rae describes Drag and Boy Michael as, "a combination of all the things that I love, which is pop music, dancing and performance." It has helped them discover deeper aspects of themselves, even while exploring their gender identity later in life.

Often, it’s within queer community that we discover more of our authentic self. As Daniele reminds us, queer people don't always have the support of biological families. “You create queer family because they understand you better." 

Follow the adventures of Boy Michael @boymichaellovesyou


Danica Lani

The King Coach

P.S. Listen to the full story on ABC's Radio National Earshot.

P.P.S. Wanna be a Drag King? Click here to join the waiting list for Kings of Joy

Hello my friend, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. Known as The King Coach, I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 102 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020 and built the uplifting Kings of Joy community. With decades of coaching and facilitation, I've led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, specialising in tantra within a queer context. My mission is that we can be 100% at home in our own skin.

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