China’s drag queens no longer content to wait in the wings

Shanghai (AFP) – Neon lights lit up a Shanghai stage as a whistle from the crowd pierced the air, heralding the live debut of Chinese drag queen “Miss Cream”.

Also known by his real name, Yan Anyu, the 18-year-old from the northern province of Hebei strutted out in glittering sequined gown, heavy make-up and curly blond wig to lip-synch Donna Summers’ disco standard “Last Dance” for a rapt crowd.

“When I’m dressed like a man, I’m not so confident,” said Yan, outrageously long fake lashes fluttering from eyes framed by glittering make-up.

That changes when he becomes “Miss Cream”.

“She’s very confident, graceful and charming — a real queen.”

Attitudes toward alternative lifestyles are slowly softening in China, and members of a small but growing drag community have begun to step into the spotlight.

Until last month’s stage show, “Miss Cream” only appeared via livestream from Yan’s home in Hebei,

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