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Kortney Ziegler examines Harlem Renaissance performance artist Gladys Bentley and the ways her manipulations of gender suggest a kinky politics that offers a new space of black queer possibility. Known for her appropriations of a fetishized image of black masculinity during the 1920s, Bentley released an autobiography in the 1950s to announce her embrace of femininity and heterosexuality. Ziegler reads Bentley’s announcement of heteronormativity through “sissy play”—a type of BDSM role play in which a male embodies hyperfeminine attributes. Although Bentley did not identify as male, Ziegler interprets her work with the knowledge that black women have always been perceived...

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