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Barbi(e)turix
Photograph: Marie Rouge / Barbi(e)turix

Meet the people making Paris’s LGBTQ+ scene pop right now

Get to know the coolest LGBTQ+ artists, performers and creatives from across the French capital

By Tina Meyer and Huw Oliver
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Right now, Paris’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene feels as diverse and inclusive as they come. There are classic-style cabaret acts. There are eclectic DJ nights. There are wild, underground, everyone’s-welcome parties. And yes, there’s a heck of lot of drag bingo. A decade ago, you’d have found very little to compare.

Here are five LGBTQ+ artists, performers, creatives and collectives who have emerged in recent years to make the City of Light funner, freer and more thrilling.

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Leslie Barbara Butch
Leslie Barbara Butch
Photograph: Leslie Barbara Butch

Barbara Butch

A stalwart of LGBTQ+ club nights across the French capital, Butch is a regular on the decks at leafy summer hangout Rosa Bonheur, as well as parties from Madame Claude and Wet for Me. The prolific DJ works with the LGBTQ+ office at the Bureau d’Accueil et d’Accompagnement des Migrants (immigration support office) in Paris’s 19th arrondissement and is also a high-profile campaigner against fatphobia.

Allanah Starr
Allanah Starr
Photograph: Allanah Starr

Allanah Starr

Former lead dancer at Champs-Élysées institution Manko, Allanah Starr brings a splash of American glamour and exuberance to the Paris cabaret scene. And she’s really smashed lockdown, too. Over on her Instagram account, she’s won a whole host of fans thanks to epic live hot dog-eating competitions raising money for The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a legal aid organisation that supports low-income or people of colour who are transgender, intersex or gender non-conforming.

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Barbi(e)turix
Barbi(e)turix
Photograph: Marie Rouge / Barbi(e)turix

Barbi(e)turix

Founded nearly a decade ago, Barbi(e)turix is the absurdly cool collective of 15 women that run Wet For Me, Paris’s biggest lesbian night. They’ve also set up a very good website dedicated to lesbian culture in France, and regularly publish a free, independent fanzine distributed through many of the city’s LGBTQ+ bars, clubs and galleries.

Aladdin Charni
Aladdin Charni
Photograph: Jacob Khrist

Aladdin Charni

Chef, nightlife entrepreneur and refugee activist, Aladdin Charni has – it’s fair to say – pretty much singlehandedly made Paris cool again over the past decade. Whether it’s his pioneering squat-restaurant Freegan Pony, which combines waste ingredients in innovative, pay-what-you-like plates, or his all-night LGBTQ+ parties at Mont C, Poney Club, Pipi Caca and Péripate, he’s injected Paris with a significant amount of Berlin-style edge since he moved here from Lyon aged 19. And in providing a home to 20 young immigrants unable to register as refugees in France, his tucked-away Maison Rose squat has stepped up where the French government very much has not.

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Minima Geste
Minima Geste
Photograph: Minima Geste

Minima Geste

By day, Arthur is a ‘software specialist’ at a world-leading printing company. By night, Arthur is Minima Geste: Paris’s most hilarious (and defo most stylish) drag queen. In normal times, we simply can’t get enough of her drag bingo nights at À La Folie. For now – and this holds whether or not you speak French – make sure to check out her excellent YouTube channel.

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