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I look into the dressing room mirror and a goddess looks back….from the photo in the top corner. Ha! You were thinking ‘What a supremely vain, obnoxious woman this is’ weren’t you? No, I am only too aware that I can never come close to the gorgeous Kiera Knightley, but as we share a similar pale skin tone I see her as my make-up idol. Those fabulous smoky eyes, the rose pink lip stick. Less is more. I’m always telling the other girls that but they laugh as they apply the most outrageous colours. They tell me my skin makes milk look tanned. Tell Kiera that, I say.

But I digress. Tonight is my big night. My starring role. I am…wait for it….headlining. How brilliant is that? The other girls couldn’t be more jealous. I also don’t have to work the club until after my performance – thank goodness. It’s hard that. Mostly the guys here are into what we do, but there’s always some funny best man dragging the drunken groom in as a joke. It happened last week, and the groom was so disgusted “She’s a he! He’s a she….” And then he hit me right in the face. I cried for hours and I still have to wear base to cover the bruise. Luckily Terry, the bouncer, dealt with him. He’s, like, one of my best friends in this place, Terry. He’s huge, I once saw him tear a telephone book in half. Made me all weak at the knees I can tell you. I think maybe he likes me a bit too. He always walks me to my car and even opens the door for me. At least he doesn’t think we are dirt.

Do you know even the gay community looks down on us queens for what we do? People say we mock women by camping up our performances, but they just don’t get it. It’s supposed to be a celebration of femininity. It’s an art form and I don’t care what people think, what my parents think. I am proud to be Miss Dee Meanour. I am a dignified drag queen, I am a star and I am gay royalty. So there!

To use the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor ‘I am what I am’ and no matter how you treat me ‘I will survive.’

Dame Barbara