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Is Broadway's 'Kinky Boots' Drag Queen a 'Heterosexual Transvestite'?

By Brandon Voss

Based on the 2005 movie about a drag queen named Lola/Simon saving a shoe factory, Kinky Boots is now a Broadway musical written by Harvey Fierstein with a score by Cyndi Lauper. Sound gay enough for you?

But according to Michael Musto at the Village Voice, who recently attended a Kinky Boots promo event, the musical may not be as gay as you think.

When Musto mentioned the "gay drag queen" character to Fierstein, he reportedly replied, "He's a heterosexual transvestite!" Huh? "He's asexual in the movie. He never talks about anything. My feeling is that Lola is so damaged that she doesn't have sexuality. She has sensuality and genius, but no self-worth."

Well, leave it to outspoken out performer Billy Porter, who stars as Lola/Simon, to set the record straight — so to speak. "But Lola is gay," Porter told Musto, contradicting Fierstein. "We're in a fight about this. Do you think after 25 years of being out, and now wearing a dress and playing the character the way I do, that I'm gonna be straight in it? Nobody's gonna believe my version of the character is straight! That's not how I play it!"

As for clues in the script that suggest Lola's sexuality, Porter said, "There is a bit of sexual innuendo at the top of Act II. It used to go in the direction of 'He's straight.' Now it's 'He ain't straight.'"

However, both Porter and Fierstein seem to agree that Lola is probably a virgin and that the real love story at the heart of the musical is between him and the straight guy who has inherited the shoe factory. Added Porter, "It's not about who I'm fucking."

Kinky Boots opens Apr. 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

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