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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > September 15 > REAL LIFE

REAL LIFE

There are at least 100 Muslim drag queens living in the UK, but almost all of them keep their religion a secret. Not Asifa Lahore, the first queen to announce her arrival to her community and her family

IMAGES PHIL FISK / CHANNEL 4 TELEVISION

I’D HAD MY SHARE OF PRE-performance jitters before, but this was really something I had to worry about. All I could do was check my outfit, wait for the cue, and introduce myself to the eager crowd. But as I strode on stage there was no applause, no cheering – only a chorus of gasps that were eventually drowned out by somebody spitting a drink. It was almost as if they’d never seen a drag act wearing a traditional burqa and heels before. I smiled. Asifa Lahore had arrived.

It was a moment decades in the making. As a child, at least once a year a Pakistani relative got married, and I always watched in awe as my mum tried on her gorgeous wedding saris and perfected her make-up. All I wanted was to have a ceremony just for me, but even then I knew a traditional Muslim wedding wasn’t possible. I knew I wanted to marry a boy.

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About Gay Times

Summer may be nearly over but fear not, the GT September issue is officially turning up the heat with English ruby star James Haskell. Bursting out of a glass box and straight onto the cover, James’s appearance in GT is timely given Keegan Hirst having recently come out at the first openly gay rugby league player. James has long been an advocate of the eradication of prejudice in sport and had this to say about Keegan’s decision to come out: “It took real strength and courage for Keegan to come out. He’s a tough guy, and the fact that his team mates, the fans and everybody has taken it so well shows that it can be done. And it shows that your sexuality really shouldn’t matter when it comes to playing sport.” Also in this issue: Keegan Hirst Kinky Boots John Grant Gay asylum seekers Cel Spellman Rebecca Root Natalie Imbruglia Kerry Ellis Jaymi Hensley And all the very best in style, tech, grooming and entertainment

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