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It's off to the races in Lebanon, in drag

The popularity of 'RuPaul’s Drag Race' has injected new life into Lebanon’s drag scene, whose performers bring unique cultural elements to the drag tradition.

With the lights down in the performance space in Hamra, one of Beirut's liveliest neighborhoods, five drag queens reveled in their singular spotlights, lip-syncing songs. The audience applauded and cheered them on.

Drag culture has existed in Lebanon for several decades, gaining popularity with performances by Bassem Feghali, who brought the tradition into the mainstream in the 1990s. The number of drag performers has since grown from one major figure to more than 30 relatively well-known queens of varying degrees of fame.

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