‘Quite frankly, it’s hurtful for me’: The Drag Race UK finalists speak out about the World Cup
‘It’s a great learning opportunity to find out who’s actually interested in being there for the LGBTQ community’
Cheddar Gorgeous, Danny Beard, Jonbers Blonde and Black Peppa are all geared up as the finalists of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season four, in what is sent to be the culmination of several months of the highest calibre of queer excellence on the biggest platform possible. But whilst we celebrate their achievements, times are increasingly difficult for LGBTQ people across the globe, as we watch our supposed allies bury their head in the sand in favour of the World Cup in Qatar, rather than stand with us – and another tragic mass shooting in a gay club results in the unnecessary and heartbreaking loss of queer life.
Speaking to The Tab and other journalists, the queens were asked how they were feeling about the current discourse and climate for us all right now. Cheddar Gorgeous said: “How do you imagine we feel? I think it’s really a time where a whole lot of allies had a real opportunity to demonstrate that their ally ship went beyond words into actions.
“And I think sometimes you realise that those people who are willing to speak up for you are only willing to do so until it affects their interests. It’s a really great learning opportunity to really find out who’s actually interested in being there for the LGBTQ community.”
Jonbers Blonde then said “I want to second that. One person that I saw a video of that I absolutely adored was Ray Winstone’s. He did a video to say about Harry Kane not wearing the One Love armband, and Ray said ‘You do what you fucking want kid, if you want to wear it you wear it, and you should wear it.’ And I think to come from Ray Winstone – that’s who always looks out for you. It’s the unexpected.
“As Cheddar said, it shows who really is an ally. Who stands up and says something.”
Danny Beard continued, saying “We as drag queens give up so much of our time every year for our community. We do charity events and we speak about things like this. But I think what it really highlights is what’s going on within the game of football. People say they’re committed to stamping out racism and homophobia in football, but the actual institutions themselves aren’t showing that. They’re not putting it into action.
“How many football players aren’t out and gay? Because the game doesn’t allow it, and the culture of the fans don’t allow it – and it needs to come from the top. If FIFA started saying we’re not going to be taking our fans and our players to countries like this where as soon as you arrive in the country your life is threatened. If they’re not willing to do that for themselves and their players and their fans, the problem starts at the top for me.
“Drag Race is gay football. These viewing parties and that, Drag Race brings people together. To see venues that aren’t always very busy in Manchester all of a sudden be packed out, it’s lovely to see.”
Black Peppa then said: “And that’s why they need to support the queer community. I don’t care for football, my partner’s into it but I’m not. However, when you see the majority of the world that aren’t queer are supporting a sport, you feel this small realising that you don’t have that support.
“A lot of these footballers, such as David Beckham, they have a platform. They have a voice. They can make a change, but they refuse to. And that is the frustrating part about it. Because who’s to know that they might have a queer child down the line, and is it only then when it impacts their loved ones? I always think it’s important to have awareness and use the platform in the best way that you can and quite frankly, what’s happening in Qatar is hurtful for me.
“I just feel like the world, especially with what’s happening in Colorado, the world is in such a weird climate right now. You just don’t feel safe, or feel like anyone’s on your side. I feel like any single representation we have really does matter.”
See all the finalists in the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 4 airs on Thursday 24th November at 9pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.
Special thanks to Jasmine Aloma at the BBC.