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24/06/2021 05:00 BST | Updated 24/06/2021 05:00 BST

Ginny Lemon: 'Drag Race UK Was The First Time I've Seen Non-Binary People Represented On TV'

From Divine to Mommie Dearest, Ginny shares their Pride favourites and what they consider to be the "pinnacle of camp".

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It’s fair to say that when it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, no queen has danced to the beat of their own drum quite like Ginny Lemon.

With their own unique senses of humour and fashion – not to mention their approach to drag in general – Ginny certainly got everyone talking throughout their time with the show.

But it’s not just their drag that made an impression, with the Worcester-born queen winning over fans with their candid discussions about gender identity and their troubled upbringing.

They also delivered one of the stand-out moments of the series when – staying true to themself as ever – they decided to eliminate themself rather than take part in a lip sync against Sister Sister.

For our Over The Rainbow series this Pride month, we talked to Ginny about “drag superstar” Divine, the special place Bad Girls holds in their heart and why Tori Amos is their ultimate queer icon…

What is your favourite Pride memory?

One of my strongest memories is when we led the Birmingham Pride parade. I was on a float, in around 2018 or 2019, and it was one of the first times I’d been in the parade. I was with a whole bunch of Birmingham besties, including my mate Lacey Lou, and as we were coming around to the main gay bit, as you go through the town, they played I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross, and that, for me, was one of the gayest moments I’ve ever had at a Pride. It was fabulous.

And then the next year running we marched with Seeds, which is an educational charity, to protest some of the horrendous bullshit going on in Birmingham about the No Outsiders policy, and that being taught in schools, and all sorts of stuff like that. So that was a good protest march that year, and facing the demons head on with all the protesters. That felt a bit more like a traditional Pride.

BBC/World of Wonder/Ray Burmiston
Ginny Lemon in her Drag Race promo shot

Who is your LGBTQ hero?

Ultimately, the queerest and the most gay, I’d have to say Divine. Divine is the drag superstar… and will always be in my eyes. She represents everything that was punk – it was angry and it was confrontational, but also glamorous and gorgeous and loveable at the same time.

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Divine

What is your go-to Pride anthem?

The one that pops into my head is Björk’s Declare Independence, which is a good belter. It’s all about reclaiming power, and I think that’s what Pride is kind of about now. And it’s definitely what it used to be about. They probably wouldn’t play that song at Pride, but I’d play it.

 

What is your favourite LGBTQ film?

Mommie Dearest is the pinnacle of camp, and I think any inspiring performer – drag queen, actor or anything – should watch that film for a summar of what camp is, really. It’s just horrendously good, it’s my favourite film. I watch it all the time. It’s a classic.

They took it very seriously, I think, that’s what makes it so camp. You can just imagine a bunch of Hollywood arseholes being like, “this is going to be [chef’s kiss]”. And obviously it is [chef’s kiss], but to a whole bunch of queer people. Anything kind of naff and discarded, queer people tend to pick up and go “this is amazing”, because I think that’s what society does with us, isn’t it? We kind of get discarded as naff and crap.

And obviously Mommie Dearest references one of the greats, Joan Crawford. I think a lot of drag is based in those old Hollywood movie stars that have helped drag become the monstrosity that it is today. 

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Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

What was an LGBTQ TV show or TV moment that made you feel represented?

Well, the only time that non-binary people have been represented on television has been myself and Bimini, so that’s definitely one that sticks out for me, seeing a non-binary person crying on telly.

I think seeing Lily Savage from a very young age made me recognise that I was a bitter bitch, too. And even at that young age, seeing this sour glamourpuss was just amazing, Lily Savage is definitely the television that sticks in my mind from childhood.

And Bad Girls is like the best television show of all time, hands down. It is the lesbian bible, so I would say all of Bad Girls, all of the seasons. I watch it every year. I rewatch every series, every year, me and my husband have done it for years.

For our wedding anniversary, we went to the prison where it was filmed. And now it’s a Malmaison… how decadent and vile is that? I’ve even got a Bad Girls tattoo, I’m obsessed.

ITV
The cast of Bad Girls

Who would be your ultimate queer icon?

I have to say, female singer-songwriters are the people that really strive the gays on. So people like Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Björk, that’s my holy trinity.

My sister introduced me to Tori Amos at a very young age, I was probably around 10 or 11. I remember listening to the album Little Earthquakes and it blew my little fucking mind. And half of it still doesn’t make sense, but it resonated with something in me, and the sound and the songs and such raw emotional music.

I think it all boils down to every queer person goes back and has a little sob to their favourite music – we all do that, right? So Tori for me has always been my go-to, she seems to sing from a different place, that resonates with a queer audience so much because of the songwriting. She’s a genius.

Ross Gilmore via Getty Images
Tori Amos performing in 2014

What is your message for young LGBTQ people this Pride month?

Don’t eat yellow snow. And milk the corporations for all you fucking can this month.

No, have a fabulous time, wear yellow, be yourself. This is Pride, this is our time to shine, isn’t it? Just have some fucking fun… no one’s had any fun in ages!

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Check out Ginny Lemon’s merchandise line here, and listen to her music on Bandcamp.