Ball Vocab 1: Contestant Categorizations

In this series of “Ball Vocab” posts, the vocabulary and descriptions have been adapted from several excellent and comprehensive lists maintained by House of Enigma, and reorganized here for ease of use in the rehearsal room. Terms in red appear in the playtext. Please note that definitions and slang are, by nature, flexible, and may change in specificity or connotation depending on who you’re talking to. Lists are not comprehensive.

For the sake of fair competition, the contestants themselves are categorized as:


A masculine female, usually lesbian, but any female possessing manly appearance and mannerisms can qualify, regardless to sexual preference. Sometimes referred to as “male illusionists.”

Butch Queens (BQs)

Gay males, regardless to which end of the masculine/ feminine scale they choose to identify with, ranging from “straight acting” to flamboyant (the category specifics determine which way to lean).

BQ in Drag

A gay male in women’s clothes that is not taking hormones. Some can actually pass for women, but this is not required unless specified by the category. They may have their own categories, or compete with the FQs in some instances.

Femme Queens (FQs)

Males at varying stages of gender reassignment; from the time they starts taking female hormones, they are no longer BQs. When you have a biologically androgynous male, there exists the flexibility to compete in categories designated for either BQs or FQs, provided there aren’t any additional prerequisites.

Women (or Female)

Biological. This division does not demand a particular sexual orientation, but does lean toward a feminine demeanor.


Denotes contestants from the “straight” pool of patrons that still attend these functions. “Male” is used in other cases where sexual preference has no bearing on a particular category’s fairness, such as with “Best Dressed Male” or “Male Muscular Body.”

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