Sites of excess: The spatial politics of touch for drag queens in Aotearoa New Zealand
Johnston, L. (2010). Sites of excess: The spatial politics of touch for drag queens in Aotearoa New Zealand. Emotion, Space and Society, available online 3 April 2010.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4653
This paper explores the role of touch for drag queens. I examine the ways in which touch – being touched, touching others, and feelings associated with touch – is an important component of sexualised subjectivities and places. The first part of the paper reviews the recent literature called ‘haptic geographies’. I highlight why sexualised touch has, for the most part, been absent from this literature before bringing together the limited references made to touch, feelings, sexuality and place. In the second part of the paper I draw on various media, my involvement as a member of the queer community group Hamilton Pride Incorporated and in-depth interviews to examine the role of touch and feelings associated with touch for drag queens in Aotearoa New Zealand. I pay attention to the complex politics and performances of drag queens in order to highlight the co-construction of haptic geographies and sexualised subjectivities. I argue that drag queens’ bodies and spaces may be understood as sites of excess where the pleasures and pains of touch may form and break bodily and spatial boundaries associated with hetero/homo and masculine/feminine subjectivities. A focus on drag queens and touch queers our understandings of embodiment and haptic geographies further.