The Australian drag performers and ‘rainbow angels’ fighting back against far-right vitriol

In 2011, Reuben Kaye sat backstage in a small theatre in Sydney’s Oxford Street, holding a tube of lipstick in his hand.

The foundation had been hard to apply over a scar near one of his eyes and the lipstick was a little heavy around the edges. But as he looked back at himself he had one thought: you look good.

When he walked through the semidarkness on to the stage that night, his cabaret show took on something more – from there, it blurred the lines with drag.

“Something just fell into place the minute I stepped on stage in heels and makeup,” Kaye says. “Through it, I found out so much about who I am, both my virtues and my foibles. In many ways, I don’t think I’d be standing here if I didn’t have this part of me.”

Kaye knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of hate – the scar on his face came from getting gay-bashed as a teenager. But recently, he’s been at the centre of a storm.

It started with a joke – over in seconds, beamed live across the…

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This article was written by Cait Kelly and originally published on