Joan Jett Blakk for President (1992), by Joan Jett Blakk

Monday, June 10, 2019 - 11:07

Joan Jett Blakk is the alter ego of drag performer Terence Smith. In 1992, Blakk – who describes herself as ‘a combination of Divine, David Bowie in his early days and Grace Jones’ – became the first drag queen to run for president. Running for the Queer Nation Party – an LGBTQ activist organisation founded in 1990 – under the slogan ‘Lick Bush in 92’, Blakk set out to ‘make America beautiful again’ while drawing attention to LGBTQ issues.

Joan Jett Blakk, Joan Jett Blakk for President (1992). Installation view of Kiss My Genders at Hayward Gallery, 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

Speaking at the time of her presidential campaign in 1992, Blakk said: ‘We’re taught from the time we’re children that anyone can be president. We had a bad actor, why not a good drag queen?’. For Kiss My Genders, the poster for Blakk’s 1992-campaign has been fly-posted across one of Hayward Gallery’s exterior walls.

Kiss My Genders is at Hayward Gallery from 12 June – 8 September 2019. Hayward Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day, except Tuesdays when the gallery is closed, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm.

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