“I seem to be the only person in the village who wears a lot of leopard print and can’t drive”
BY SABINA WESTON
“Don’t you know I’m the only gay in this village?” asks Daffyd Thomas in his first appearance in Little Britain.
I remember sneaking into the living room as a little girl to see why my parents found it so funny. Daffyd, played by Matt Lucas, was my favourite character. However, it was never my intention to become him.
As a newly-out queer person, I was not exactly over the moon when I found out I would have to leave my east London flat behind for a new life in Pewsey, Wiltshire.
London is where I came out and where I met a lot of great people within the LGBTQI community. Pewsey is a small town inhabited by roughly 3,634 people. (No one is quite sure, as the last census was conducted in 2011…)
Wiltshire is a part of the second-largest English region by lesbian, gay, or bisexual population — the southwest, where 2.4% identify as such (according to the 2017 Annual Population Survey by the ONS). And yet, I seem to be the only person in the village who wears a lot of leopard print and can’t drive.
I moved to Pewsey two days ago and this is my story.
The nightlife’s a drag
Back in London, drag shows were an important part of my weekly entertainment. I lived (conveniently) on the Central line, which runs all night on the weekends and connected me to my favourite queer, nightclub – Heaven.
The venue hosts drag royalty twice a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays. Thanks to Heaven, I have had the privilege and pleasure of seeing Manila Luzon and Nina West perform live. I got to mingle with Yvie Oddly and Sharon Needles. Basically, I can’t thank the owners enough for the amazing opportunities to meet your idols.
I did not have high expectations of Pewsey’s LGBTQI nightlife. As Drag Race UK contestant and Wiltshire-native Scaredy Kat recently said:
“Wiltshire (…) is literally in the middle of nowhere and to ask if they have a drag scene is a joke in itself. There was one nearby, and even a gay bar but it got shut down. Obviously.”
Pewsey has five pubs and they seem quite empty. I couldn’t find any drag queens, nor any LGBTQI-focused events. If you’re looking for a drag show in Pewsey, it would be easier to just stay home with a bottle of Baileys and perform lip-syncs for yourself, playing Walter Charles’ version of La Cage Aux Folles‘ I Am What I Am on repeat until the neighbours complain.
After all, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
A few days before I moved to Wiltshire, I matched (through the popular dating app Hinge) with a very attractive girl from Marlborough. I messaged her to ask where we could meet for a date. “The Green Dragon is a great pub,” she replied.
Then she ghosted me.
Life of The Only Gay In The Village is hard and, unlike Daffyd, I would give anything to have someone to sip bacardi and coke with.
On the second day of living in Wiltshire, I went on a walk to the town centre to have a look for some LGBTQI press — DIVA, Gay Times, Attitude. None of the stores sold any. Hence, I took the bus to the nearest available WH Smith, located in the town of Marlborough. Unfortunately, no luck there either.
That is why, if you’re gay and a magazine journalism major (a dangerous combination), you might be quite disappointed by the lack of diversity in Pewsey’s magazines sections. Better settle for The Lady.
Back in London, my breakfast consisted of a medium soy-milk latte and a fresh supply of vegan alternatives and perfectly-ripe avocados (none of that “ripen at home” nonsense). Over Pride season, I was greeted by rainbow signs in the windows of my local shop saying, “We proudly support the LGBT+ community”, which was always a nice, a welcoming touch at least.
While on the search for LGBTQI-focused magazines in Pewsey, I was also shopping for food. I could not find a single café in the entire village which would sell me an iced latte. The bakery did not have any vegan sandwiches. Lastly, the avocados were overpriced and – shock, horror – unripened.
If I buy an avocado, I want to eat it on the same day, not in 2020.
On the way home, listening to a Trixie Mattel country album and thinking about the shortage of drag shows and ripe avocados, I realised that I might be a stereotype but at least I get to wear the crown of Only Gay In The Village.
Oh, and if it didn’t come across already, I think I might also be the only millennial in the village too…
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