A drag queen has said he was in “disbelief” when he received a letter of support from the Prime Minister wishing him luck in an upcoming charity pageant.
Ben Tye was sent a message from Theresa May before Miss Drag UK, the first ever UK drag pageant, in which he is competing under the name Amber Dextris.
The letter was accompanied by a signed picture of Mrs May, which she told the 22-year-old to sell in support of the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands), the charity the pageant is aiding.
Mr Tye, from Harwich, Essex, told the Press Association:
“The letter shocked me completely.”
“I don’t even know how they got my address as I’ve just moved.”
“I didn’t know what to do with myself; I had to ring my partner in disbelief!”
Mrs May followed up the letter on Twitter on Thursday, writing:
“Must admit I haven’t had a chance to catch up on @RuPaulsDragRace, but wishing Ben all the best in raising money for a great cause @SandsUK.”
Mrs May posted the tweet just moments before it was announced another MP, agriculture minister George Eustice, announced he is resigning from Government over a possible delay to Brexit.
The tweet was met with scorn from some, particularly one competitor from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the hit reality TV show which sees drag queens compete to become America’s next drag superstar.
Giovanni Palandrani, stage name Aquaria, tweeted:
“Honestly thanks for the support but no thanks.”
“Get your policies together and then feel comfortable enjoying our art. Mess.”
However Mr Tye said he appreciated the Prime Minister’s show of support.
“I think it’s amazing she’s finally showing support for the LGBT community, I know it’s been a touchy subject with politics recently.”
“I think more education on LGBT should be given and there’s always room for improvement on rights but she’s going in the right direction.”
Mr Tye added that many of the replies to Mrs May’s post referred to Brexit and said:
“this is completely unrelated.”
Mr Tye will compete at Miss Drag UK on March 10, which sees drag queens tested through four rounds, an interview and two catwalks.
Competitors are judged on a variety of criteria including their look and the amount they were able to fundraise for the charity, with three crowns up for grabs including the top accolade of Miss Drag UK.
“I started off not really knowing what I was getting myself into but now it’s become everything I think about.”
Mr Tye added:
“I’m so excited for the pageant, there are some amazing queens involved and even if I don’t win, I get to meet some fabulous people.”
If you would like to donate to Mr Tye’s fundraiser for the pageant, in support of Sands, go to: