'I didn't know what to do!' - Essex drag queen surprised by letter of support from PM
PUBLISHED: 20:44 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 20:53 28 February 2019
A drag queen from Harwich has spoken of his delight at receiving a good luck message from the prime minister ahead of an upcoming charity pageant.
Ben Tye, 22, said he was “shocked” to receive the letter of support from Theresa May, wishing him well at Miss Drag UK – the country’s very first drag pageant.
The letter was accompanied by a signed picture of Mrs May, which she told Mr Tye to sell in support of the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands), the charity the pageant is aiding.
Mr Tye, who competes under the name Amber Dextris, said he was thrilled Mrs May was showing her support for the LGBT community.
“The letter shocked me completely,” he said.
“I don’t even know how they got my address as I’ve just moved.
“I didn’t know what to do with myself I had to ring my partner in disbelief!”
He added: “I think it’s amazing she’s finally showing support for the LGBT community, I know it’s been a touchy subject with politics recently.
“I think more education on LGBT should be given and there’s always room for improvement on rights but she’s going in the right direction.”
Mrs May followed up the letter on Twitter on Thursday, writing: “Must admit I haven’t had a chance to catch up on @RuPaulsDragRace, but wishing Ben all the best in raising money for a great cause @SandsUK.”
The tweet was met with scorn from some, particularly one competitor from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the hit reality TV show which sees drag queens compete to become America’s next drag superstar.
Giovanni Palandrani, stage name Aquaria, tweeted: “Honestly thanks for the support but no thanks.
“Get your policies together and then feel comfortable enjoying our art. Mess.”
However Mr Tye said replies referencing Brexit were “completely unrelated”.
He will compete at Miss Drag UK on March 10, which sees drag queens tested through four rounds, an interview and two catwalks.
Competitors are judged on a variety of criteria including their look and the amount they were able to fundraise for the charity, with three crowns up for grabs including the top accolade of Miss Drag UK.
“I started off not really knowing what I was getting myself into but now it’s become everything I think about,” Mr Tye said.
“I’m so excited for the pageant, there are some amazing queens involved and even if I don’t win, I get to meet some fabulous people.”
Details of Mr Tye’s fundraiser for the pageant, in support of Sands, can be found on his Go Fund Me page.