New boys in town: the drag kings rewriting the rules of masculinity

Some critics in the LGBT+ community argue that drag kings have no right to inhabit a space traditionally taken by gay men or that drag queens performances by men have a unique ability to explore and challenge damaging stereotypes of masculinity.

Carefully painting in sharp cheekbones and heavy eyebrows before applying a moustache and a final sprinkling of glitter, Jen Powell slowly transforms into male alter-ego Adam All ahead of a performance at a London club.

Powell is among a growing number of drag kings - mostly female or transgender performers playing exaggerated male characters – in a previously niche LGBT+ performance scene that is booming in popularity across much of the Western world.

"Once I've got the suit on and the shape looks right and the face looks male, I don't have to change my character very much at all to present completely and believably as male," Powell told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Adam is more flamboyant, he's more cartoony, more fun-loving, dancey. He's not massively confident, oddly enough, although he does love the stage. I think he's really exploring his maleness and what it means to be a man in the 21st century." Read more via Openly