Swingerella - drag alter ego of Birmingham mum Andrea Smith - was reported chased out of India for "indecent behaviour" (Photograph: Andrea Smith)
Swingerella – drag alter ego of Birmingham mum Andrea Smith – was reported chased out of India for “indecent behaviour” (Photograph: Andrea Smith)

Since ‘fleeing’ from India in just my ‘knickers’ (if the press is to be believed) I have been termed “drag queen” in national red-top newspapers up and down this fine and liberal land.

But hang on! This is gender politics. And it’s being used as an insult. I made the mistake of browsing through the troll comments.

Well, we all need a good dollop of self-loathing, don’t we? The comments seem to focus on the ‘crazy’ act of ‘a woman dressing as a man dressing as a woman.’ To Mister Average this seems an alien concept.

As we approach Birmingham Pride this week, I am asking myself – where do I fit in the gender wars? Before I went to India, I called myself a ‘gender punk’. Now I feel more of a gender mongrel. The drag community at Edinburgh Fringe eyed me with suspicion and sometimes hostility. In Birmingham, they are far more open.

Andrea Smith, who describes herself as a "Stateswoman drag queen" fled India last week following her performance at the Women Economic Forum in Delhi (Photograph: Andrea Smith)
Birmingham Mother-of-two Andrea Smith, who describes herself as a “Stateswoman drag queen”, fled India last week following her performance at the Women Economic Forum in Delhi (Photograph: Andrea Smith)

Still – it’s a lonely life. I’ve lost a few more friends since my return and my family are ashamed of me. In addition, whereas in the early days Swingerella used to attract positivity and selfies, I have lost count of the sackloads of disgust she has generated among Joe and Jane Public.

From almost being punched on my way to an EdFringe show for ‘taking out my adam’s apple’ to comments such as ‘crazy’ and ‘you have man’s legs’ I have heard it all. Rough hands searching for my ‘cock’. Thumps on the back in Brighton.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MAi9NOxLU8?rel=0]

Last month in Derby a young boy came up to me and said, “If I had a gun I would use it on you.” This was a memorable low. If the younger generation aren’t open to gender questioning, what does that say about the future?

So why do it? Well, oddly enough I fell into it. I would not call myself a drag queen but then why do I have to give myself a label? Oh yes. After reading my story in the national newspapers this week, I see that we need to put labels on people we fear.

Not one of them mentioned that I am a writer – although I am proud to say they DID mention the transgender voice and RAPE on stage.

Birmingham female drag artist Swingerella - alter ego of mother-of-two Andrea Smith - was allegedly chased out of India by military police for showcasing an "indecent" performance (Photograph: Andrea Smith)
Birmingham female drag artist Swingerella – alter ego of mother-of-two Andrea Smith – was allegedly chased out of India by military police for showcasing an “indecent” performance (Photograph: Andrea Smith)

Who else do you know who has openly depicted the aftermath of rape on stage in India and lived to tell the tale? My point is – this is an achievement.

So why am I labelled as a drag queen in knickers? Okay, I have to label. I get it. It’s a scared democracy. So I choose Gender Mongrel. Anyone joining me? See you at Birmingham Pride. But warning – I bite.

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You can find me online at www.swingerella.co.uk, and on Twitter and YouTube.

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Swingerella

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Swingerella is a comedienne, compere and self-proclaimed “Goddess of Fabulousness” who is currently campaigning against domestic violence as part of the Goddess Foundation. You can follow her on Twitter @Swingerella.

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Staff ReporterBlogNewsAndrea Smith,Birmingham,Birmingham Pride,Delhi,Drag,Gender,India,Swingerella,WEF,Women's Economic ForumSince ‘fleeing’ from India in just my ‘knickers’ (if the press is to be believed) I have been termed 'drag queen' in national red-top newspapers up and down this fine and liberal land. But hang on! This is gender politics. And it’s being used as an insult. I made the...The latest news, updates and events in Birmingham