A feeling of belonging
Paul (aka Marigold Adams) talks about becoming part of the LGBT community, working at The Sun in Bradford and inspiring people through drag.
TRANSCRIPTPAUL: Yeah...I, I used to work – I’m from Keighley, originally which is nine, ten miles down the road, and there’s absolutely no gay community whatsoever in Keighley. Like now they have LGBTQ groups in schools and things like that, there was nothing like that. There was literally like me and two other guys in school that I knew were gay, so three of us out of, you know, 2000 pupils. So, I, I, I had a job, I used to work in a clothes shop and my friend – I made friends with a, a gay man there, and we’re still friends today. And he said ‘there’s, there’s a pub in Bradford that you should go to, and I’ll take you if you want’. So I was 17, naughty naughty!
INTERVIEWER: It’s a lot different then.
PAUL: And... and I went in and I remember looking around, and I honestly, it sounds really silly but I just... tears came into my eyes. A certain song came on... which was a song I’d been listening to in my bedroom at home, and it just – I, I was overcome cos I thought ‘I belong here, and I belong with these people’. So then I just wanted to – all of the time, it was like something had opened inside of me. It was like, in my heart, I was like ‘oh my God, there, there are other people like me’, and not just one or two, there’s tons of them! You know.
So I [pause] I used to go out socialising a lot but then I’d try and find out about like, other ways that I could get involved which didn’t necessarily just mean going out and having a few beers. So I used to – I, I joined a, a, a lunch club. On a Sunday a load of gay men would go out for Sunday lunch and a bit of a chat and things like that. And then I was just desperate to get a job, in the pub. So I started behind the bar and within three weeks of just, sort of, doing little bits on the stage and just showing that I had a bit of a, a, an inclination to be on the stage, I was eventually asked to do, do the drag. It started off as once a fortnight then it was [pause] once a week, then it was twice a week [laughs] and it just evolved then so I’m so grateful to, to, to Robert who had [unclear] and gave me the job. Because then that meant I could get involved in other things, and ultimately year and a half after that [pause] less than a year actually, was when I was asked to do my first Pride, so I could be a member of the community. And now when I step on the stage at Pride I get such a lovely reception. And I hope that means it’s because I’ve made an impact. Not just being the performer, not just being the person in likes a good time but being the person in the community.
I get a lot of people talking to me online, trans people, people scared of coming out. After I did a Pride, one good thing – after I did a Pride, this teenage lad, I mean he’s old enough now to come out and have a drink and have a bit of a giggle. He was only 16 then, he sent me a message saying, ‘I love what you do, and can you tell me more about what you do?’, and, and ‘and it was such, such a great thing to meet you’ and da da da da. And that was really gratifying to me because it was kind of like, away from the make-up and the... the glamour of it all. You’re kind of helping people to be themselves and discover who they are. And, and live their, their... their authentic lives. So yeah, I like that. I feel proud of that. [Laughs]