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"We've got about 30 suits and different outfits, lots of cool military jackets and hats and trousers and shoes and some band uniforms you can use for different things," says Stafford.
"I think when you talk about drag kings, Jordy and I take it a little further than most people do," Stafford adds. "We don't try to pass."
"We just do," says Jordy.
"We do it because it's aesthetically pleasing to us," says Stafford. "I always wonder, when somebody calls me 'he,' or calls me 'she' -- I always wonder, what did they see in me to make them call me that? Because I basically look pretty much the same from day to day," she says.
"I'm never insulted by being called one or the other," Stafford adds. "The only time I'll point it out is if someone is using gender as a reason to treat me a certain way. If somebody is giving me male privilege, I'll refuse it. When I walk up to a counter with somebody who comes across as visibly, really female, 99 percent of the time, I'll be served first. Or the person will address questions just to me. And then I'll point it out to them," she says.
Both Stafford and Jordy, like most of the women interviewed, have memories of wanting to cross-dress from earliest childhood. Stafford at age 4 found a catalog of bride and groom outfits, fell in love with the tuxedos, hid in one of her brother's closets, put on a boy's shirt, and taught herself how to knot a tie. Instinctively, she felt she had to hide her behavior. "But I remember thinking the grooms were really lucky because they had all these great choices, but the brides basically had one boring white dress to choose from," she says.
Stafford's hometown, Gridley -- halfway between Chico and Yuba City -- didn't offer much room for experimentation, and her mother, by the time Stafford hit adolescence, became increasingly angry over her blossoming lesbianism. Stafford took solace in her skill as an athlete, and spent a year in college and five years in the Army before reaching a place where she could come up for air. She met Jordy after the two crossed paths at a San Francisco porn shoot.
Jordy, meanwhile, says her family forced her to wear girls clothes "in order to be taken places. We went to tea parties," she says, darkly. "Which meant I couldn't run around looking like a scruff all the time in boys jeans." She escaped during her teens and doesn't want to say how, or from where, except to describe her childhood home as somewhere around the Bay Area. But life took a major turn when she met Stafford, and found family.
"I consider gender a continuum along which I travel freely," Stafford says. "I don't really see people as men and women anymore." How can you draw lines, she asks, when you live in a world with people as amazing as Justin Bond, the drag queen performance artist? Or James Green, director of FTM International, a Bay Area support group for female-to-male transsexuals, himself a man who was "born in an apparently female body" as Green puts it, and who legally changed his sex in 1990. "James is a saint," Stafford says.
"I would just give a word of advice," she continues. "I would just say if you want to pass, climb over the fence like you belong there. Act like you belong in those clothes," she says. She searches out Jordy's reaction, and finds approval.
"Let's have a nice round of applause for the handsome gents." Leigh Crow/Elvis Herselvis is keeping things rolling at Klubstitute, though she looks a bit lonesome tonight without the company of her fellow band members, the Straight White Males.
Half-time entertainment remains ahead: She'll be launching into the lyrics, "One night with you is what I'm praying for," black shoes gleaming, hair perfectly pooR>fed. At the song's end, she'll be on her knees, hands pleading with the ceiling in true Elvis fashion. Crow's been playing the King for more than five years, and though her male impersonation roles of late have expanded to Jack Nicholson and Erik Estrada, it's Elvis she loves most, and it's Elvis who stares down from the black velvet painting in her bedroom. The only thing she refuses to do on his behalf, she says, is wear a jumpsuit.
"I heard this statistic once that if the rate of Elvis impersonators keeps going the way it is today, by the year 2050, one in 10 people will be Elvis impersonators," Crow will muse a few days in the future. "So that's really a beautiful thing to look forward to."
In the meantime, contestant Raoul is stressed out.
He has to follow the act of Buster Brown Eyes, clearly the most popular Mr. Klubstituter with the crowd so far. Plus, Raoul's a real boy. Taking a deep breath, he mans the stage, strips off his shirt, and lip-syncs "Witchcraft," but near the end of the song he forgets the words. A drag queen arrives onstage to whisper the lyrics in his ear and help him finish.