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Behind the Backdoor Boys


Photo: Jocelyn Davis

Over on you can read the entirely fake totally true story of a boyband gone wrong. The Backdoor Boys were one of New York's most famous and funniest drag king acts, and none other than T Cooper, the guest editor for our Transgender Issue, was one of the group's stars.

When I called to talk to T about how to cover the Backdoor Boys, we wound up getting a little distracted by the tragic tale of poor T-Rok -- and speculating where he might be today. Here is the ridiculous result:

I don't want to pry too much, but how did you know you had hit bottom?
At a certain point, I ran out of memorabilia to auction on eBay. I ended up asking Lou Pearlman for more, but I sold that too. So the low point was probably selling handjobs on Santa Monica Boulevard. I will also admit that I did graduate to blowjobs. But only for a certain price.

And here are a few fun facts I learned about T (who's in jersey #89 up above) along the way:

> The Backdoor Boys owe their existence to T's crappy job at Teen People magazine: "I had to to fact-check the lyrics of hit songs -- so readers could learn them. I was on the phone with the publicist, fact-checking the lyrics to 'I Want it That Way.' And it was back and forth and back and forth and it was so awful. I was like, this song makes no sense. And then I thought -- I know what this song is about. This song is about anal sex. There's all this push and pull and I want it but I don't want it and I never want to hear you say it... So I decided that was what it's about. I decided there had to be a performance."

> When I was busy going to, ahem, several 'N Sync concerts in my day, T was doing time at Backstreet Boys shows. "I had 4th row tickets to one," he told me. "And I tossed a pair of our Backdoor Boys underwear on stage. Brian actually caught them and opened them up -- he thought it was a t-shirt or something. Turned out to be male tighty-whities, and he turned bright red, wadded them up, and then threw them at AJ McLean, who then tossed them at their band's drummer, who wore them on his head for a few minutes until they transitioned into the "save the environment" song, and everybody had to get real serious for a moment."

> Speaking of serious moments: "I was dressed like an 18-year-old boyband member," T said, on how the drag king performing impacted his own transition. "On the way to gigs, I would walk or take a taxi or a train. It was my first time passing all the time as male. It was kind of liberating for that. I don't think I saw it at the time as that, but I could feel, oh, I'm comfortable like this."

You can read more about and by T Cooper at his site, or check out this documentary about the band.

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