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Liverpool drag legend Lady Sian on how Pride has changed attitudes in the city

11 months ago

Liverpool drag legend Lady Sian on how Pride has changed attitudes in the city

Liverpool drag legend Lady Sian says having a family-friendly Pride has helped transform attitudes towards the LGBT+ community in the city.

Shaun Kenna has been an icon of Liverpool’s gay bars and pubs as Lady Sian since the ‘80s.

He says the city is very different now for LGBT+ people to the one he grew up in, and he believes Pride – and RuPaul – have got a lot to do with that.

“I think the city has grown and that sense of acceptance is completely different to how it used to be.

“Our age group went through Margaret Thatcher and AIDS and all the prejudice around that, and we came through it and it made us stronger.

“It’s fabulous to see young gay men and lesbian women not having that nervous feeling that we all had to deal with. When I was growing up, none of us could get jobs, it was just too scary, but now it’s not like that and that’s wonderful.

“I think Liverpool people especially are very warm and loving people, and they’ve got to know a lot more gay people because we’re all out and proud.

Pride Liverpool - Lady Sian - The Guide Liverpool

“Having Pride has played a big part in that because it hasn’t half changed people’s attitudes. Liverpool Pride is more family orientated and I think that really gets across the message to all different ages that we’re all the same – it’s about being proud of who you are and proud of our city. 

“Forget labels, it doesn’t matter whether you’re LGBTQ+ or not, I see LCR Pride as a rejoicing and once you’ve got that vibe going round it brings love and harmony.”

Shaun says having more mainstream visibility on TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race has also been a huge help in breaking down barriers and prejudice.

“The drag industry’s taken off, it’s in your face on the telly all the time now, and that’s helped a lot because it’s broadened people’s mindsets.

“In Liverpool I’ve seen there are more and more people becoming LGBT aware, and wanting us and our energies.”

Where drag queens once worked mostly only in the gay bars and clubs, now demand is getting far wider. 

“I’m the first ever drag queen to work on Great Charlotte Street, in Tess Riley’s pub on a Thursday night, which is incredible. I do a karaoke competition, Tess Factor, there with a lady called Gillian Ross. I get out of my car in my sequins and all the old ladies and men want photographs!”

This Saturday, as part of the Liverpool’s Pride celebrations, Lady Sian will be DJing at the Albert Dock from 1pm to 2pm alongside a line-up of some of the region’s best DJs, drag queens and dance acts.

“I think there’ll be a lot of families coming along to the dock, it could be the first time they’ve seen a drag queen not on TV, and they’ll realise how fabulous we are!

“And for people who are still not quite sure what we mean by Pride, when they come along and see us all, they’re going to join in with the fun because it’s amazing. Then if they’ve had a lovely day, met lovely people and had a laugh with them, they’re going to tell people who’ve not been what a great time they had and that keeps on spreading the positive message.”

Find out more about Pride at the Royal Albert Dock, this Saturday from 12pm HERE.

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