Drag Race star La Grande Dame opens up about harrowing homophobic attack that left her in hospital

La Grande Dame in Drag Race UK vs The World.

Drag Race star La Grande Dame has spoken about being taken to hospital following a homophobic attack.

During Friday’s (23 February) episode of season two of Drag Race UK vs The World, the nine remaining drag stars spent time discussing how anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes are on the rise around the world. 

The conversation began with Drag Race Philippines finalist Marina Summers talking about the situation in her home land.

“[Same-sex acts are] not illegal but even up until this day we have no gay rights or any law, not even anti-discrimination laws,” she said. “We don’t have anything to protect us.”

And Keta Minaj, who starred in Drag Race Holland season two in 2021, said: “We have gay bashing occurring.”

La Grande Dame then described a similar situation in France, revealing that she had been attacked – and felt forced to leave her home in Nice.

You may like to watch

“We have the same. The people who hate us, in reaction to the progress we’re making, are being way more vocalised and way more violent,” said the runner-up of the first season of Drag Race France, in 2022.

La Grande Dame tells her fellow Drag Race UK vs The World queens about a homophobic hate crime she was subjected to.
Drag Race UK vs The World queens were shocked to hear of the attack on La Grande Dame (R). (BBC)

“I got attacked, got sent to the hospital. That’s why I left Nice. I went to the police and stated what happened, and there was no investigation.

“It happens every weekend, that’s basically their response.”

Last year, French LGBTQ+ activism group SOS Homophobie reported a 28 per cent increase in violent, homophobic attacks in 2022 compared with the year before. In addition, data published in 2020 showed that anti-LGBTQ+ incidents in the country had risen by a third in 2019.

“You see that happening more and more and it keeps getting crazier and crazier,” La Grande Dame added. “People have died. We have to keep the f**king fight going.

“Even in countries where the law is with us, [it’s] hard to get justice.”

Lucas (French pupil takes his own life)
Lucas took his own life after what his mother said was homophobic bullying by his classmates. (family issued photo)

The suicide of Lucas, a 13-year-old queer boy, sent shockwaves around France 13 months ago, after it was alleged that he had endured a torrent of homophobic bullying.

In June 2023, Radio France Internationale reported that four secondary-school pupils, who were prosecuted in relation to Lucas’ suicide, were found guilty of bullying, but the juvenile court did not find a casual link between the bullying and his death. 

According to data released by Stonewall in the UK, homophobic hate crimes have risen by 112 per cent in the past five years, while hate crimes against trans people have increased 11 per cent in the past 12 months alone.

La Grande Dame is one in a long list of Drag Race stars to speak up about their experiences of homophobic abuse. Last year, The Vivienne, Pixie Polite and Envy Peru were all assaulted or threatened in separate incidents.

Suicide is preventable. Readers in the UK who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

If you have been affected by homophobic violence or abuse, the UK’s National LGBT+ Abuse and Violence Helpline, ran by Galop, is available Monday to Thursday (10am to 4.30pm) and Friday (10am to 4pm) on 0800 888 5428 and at galop.org.uk.