Words: Alastair James; pictures: BBC
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Choriza May has opened up about growing up in Spain, moving to the UK and finding her community, and the homophobic and xenophobic abuse she has suffered along the way.
Choriza – real name Adrian Martin – moved to Newcastle nine years ago and met her now-boyfriend, before eventually applying to be on Drag Race UK’s third season.
The star, 30, says she’s been the victim of abuse over being an immigrant, and as she said in her entry line on Drag Race UK: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, hate me because I’m an immigrant”.
“I felt trapped for so many years”
Explaining her choice of entry line in an op-ed for the Metro, Choriza says she wanted to own her story because she knew she’d receive hateful comments for it.
She says trolls told her she didn’t represent Newcastle drag and that she should be on Drag Race España instead. However, she says the drag community has supported her throughout.
She added that growing up in the Valencian town of Guadassuar was difficult due to homophobia: “I felt trapped for so many years and I was surrounded by people who told me everything about me was wrong – I was too camp, too flamboyant, too loud and I was ‘el maricón del poble’, which translates to ‘the town’s f****t’.”
She decided to get out and ended up finding her community at university in Castellón before moving to Newcastle where she found the acceptance she’d been craving.
“It was feeling that sense of belonging to a queer community, as well as a mix of frustration, anger, and desperation towards the current political scenario at the time that made me create Choriza May – a Spanish/Geordie drag queen,” she explains.
Vanity Milan, Elektra Fence and Choriza May on Drag Race UK (Photo: BBC)
Since being in the public eye she says she’s received xenophobic abuse. “It’s the price you pay for being part of a minority and also being outspoken about the issues that make us feel like second-class citizens,” she explains.
She adds: "In all honesty, [the show] makes me realise how important it is that finally an EU citizen has made it onto such a big platform.
"There are around 3.5million in the UK – we are teachers, lawyers, doctors, bartenders, au pairs… and also drag queens. We’re hard workers and we’ve left our friends and families behind to chase our dreams – mine just came true in a country I adore."
New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK are available on the BBC iPlayer every Thursday at 7pm.
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