/ Life is a Drug

Life is a Drug

Aug 08, 2013

My life as a British South Asian Glamour Queen

Being famous – the glitz, the celebrity status, the attention – has always been a dream of mine. I remember watching beauty pageants like Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss India since I was four years old, and I was amazed at the spectacle of it all. These pageants encompassed everything I wanted to be a part of – stunning fashion, beauty, hair and makeup. And after watching these shows, I would tell my mum and dad that when I was older I wanted to be Miss India – and then go on to win the Miss World crown. They would just laugh off my proclamations and figured it was a phase. Little did they or I know that fifteen years later I would be crowned the first ever South Asian drag queen in history to win the title off Miss Glamour Queen United Kingdom 2006-2007.

I’ve always loved the fake, over-the-top looks of British glamour models Jodie Marsh and Jordan; I’ve idolized Jordan in many ways from the long blonde hair, big thick pink lips, heavy blusher, thick eye liner, loads of glitter, blue eyes, big fake extension lashes, the exotic fake tan and, of course, the very skimpy short revealing outfits. I have made myself into the South Asian Jordan.

It’s a shame though, that being gay in our culture is still a taboo. It really does hurt when people call you a hijara or kusara. From a young age, these labels have haunted me, and I was always bullied because I was effeminate and loved playing with Barbies. It was hard being called a ‘puff ’ and a ‘batty boy’, but I tried to remain strong after shedding so many tears; if I didn’t stand up for myself then who would?

In the end, it only made me stronger and helped me gain the confidence that I have today. I know that I don’t want young gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered people to go through what I had to endure throughout my life, thinking there was no future for me just because of my sexuality. Having recently turned 19, I feel that I have achieved a lot for myself as a boy and as a drag. However, this is only the start and there is a long road ahead…I’m lucky to have had continuous support from my family and dear friends.

I have dreams of going to India to star in a Bollywood movie. I also want to promote AIDS and HIV awareness. But for this to happen successfully, I want support from the Indian and gay South Asian communities; we need to stand shoulder to shoulder to fight for the respect of humanity.

Sadly, however, sometimes there is very little support for gay people within their own communities. My own gay peers have beat me up, pulled my wig off, ripped my outfits, punched me, kicked me and slapped me, for no reason. If gay South Asians want to be accepted in society, then firstly they should support their own.

Being the first South Asian drag queen to have won Miss Glamour Queen United Kingdom is a huge achievement, and I hope I’m not the last to win such an honour. Most importantly, winning the title gives me a platform from where I can voice my opinions, represent the South Asian gay community and be a role model for people who are in the same boat as me. Even if I can help one person it will be worth it. Many positive doors can open for you if you try hard and remain positive. Look at me…I’ve been featured in household magazines and newspapers, and my pictures are being viewed by millions worldwide thanks to a great support group. If a small town ‘girl’ like myself who lives in a small village outside of Leicestershire, England, can do it – then anyone can. Live and let live.

By Shinata Sangha (aka Bipasha Beyonce)


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