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In my writing, I am talking about a character who is a, for lack of a better word, drama queen. But because this character identifies as a male, should another character call him a "drama queen," or something else like a "drama king?"

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3 Answers 3

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The OED gives this sense and citations for the term. Notice that nothing is said of the person’s sex, and that some of the citations are for males:

drama queen n.

a person who overreacts to a minor setback or who is prone to exaggeratedly dramatic behaviour; (also) a person who thrives on being the centre of attention.

  • 1923 Washington Post 10 Dec. 14/4
    If he is thwarted in his effort to enjoy them, he may either go to the dogs or the drama queens, become short-tempered, sullen, grouchy and eventually feel that, in a way he is a failure.
  • 1987 Chicago Tribune (Nexis) 25 June 11 e
    The two founding Durans still like to call their front man a ‘drama queen’.
  • 2004 J. Wilson Diamond Girls 6
    Oh for God’s sake, stop being such a drama queen! The whole world doesn’t revolve around you and your boyfriend.

This is similar to a Queen for a Day letter, which per Wikipedia has nothing to do with the defendant’s sex:

In U.S. criminal law, a proffer letter, proffer agreement, proffer, or “Queen for a Day” letter is a written agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant or prospective witness that allows the defendant or witness to give the prosecutor information about an alleged crime, while limiting the prosecutor’s ability to use that information against him or her.

The term Queen for a Day comes from the American radio and television show of the same name.

We see the same thing with the extended use of whore per the OED again, which demonstrates using attention whore in the same sense as drama queen, again making no distinction on the basis of sex:

whore n.

  1. A person regarded as willing to compromise or demean him or herself for personal gain or in pursuit of a particular goal; a person regarded as inconstant or promiscuous in a specified context or with regard to a particular thing. Chiefly with modifying word or as the second element in compounds, as in attention whore, publicity whore, etc.

    • 2017 Ado Alsaid North of Happy x. 104
      Matt's an attention whore. The more people are there the better he'll feel.

Of course, it is perfectly possible to use terms like these in a belittling, derogatory sense, such as using Princess as a demeaning form of address for a man or boy to imply that he is “overindulged or pampered, especially one who is arrogant, supercilious, or uncaring”.

But I don’t think drama queen or attention whore normally carries a connotation of sex-based disapproval the way calling someone Princess or my lady necessarily does.

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There is no gender conflict or issue in using 'drama queen' for a male. The term comes from (male) gay slang, in which a 'queen' is a flamboyant or effeminate gay man. The term can preceded by a specifier, e.g. a 'matzah queen' is a gay man who prefers Jewish partners, and an 'opera queen' is one who likes opera. A 'drama queen' was originally a gay man who made a big emotional fuss about trivial things, but the expression has, so to speak, come out of the closet and entered mainstream usage to mean a person of any gender or orientation who is inclined to make a fuss about everything.

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You can call him a “Crisis king”

Source: https://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationship-tips/drama-queens-and-crisis-kings/

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  • Hi, and welcome to ELU. Please take the tour and consider how you might improve your answer. As it stands, this sounds like opinion. Can you quote and cite references to show that this is in general use?
    – Davo
    Nov 2, 2020 at 15:10
  • @AugustoPohl Can you please list the source where you found this?
    – Joe Kerr
    Nov 2, 2020 at 15:23
  • There you go... Nov 2, 2020 at 16:28

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