Drag queen Elektra Fence – real name Julian Riley – who starred in season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, was subjected to a a verbal and physical homophobic attack when travelling by train from London to Manchester on Sunday (24 April).
Returning from the buffet car carrying a cup of tea, Julian – who was not in drag – was grabbed and pushed by a group of five men and four women on the Avanti West Coast service from Euston. The group, who were also shouting homophobic insults at Julian, had also subjected a member of the train’s staff to racist abuse.
Posting on Twitter, Julian explained, “It was incredibly aggressive and frightening and I felt totally helpless…[they were] shouting every homophobic slur under the sun.”
Revealing that a similar incident had taken place less than a month previously, Julian added, “Attacks are at the back of many queer people’s minds every day, including mine; whether it’s holding my fiancé’s hand, leaving for work in drag/makeup or simply buying a cup of tea on a train.
“I want you all to know that I am a strong, resilient person and have suffered worse than this in my life. Despite this, I should not have to deal with or process an incident such as this in this day and age. As a victim of both physical and verbal bullying at school, this attack was triggering and I admit to being both upset and angry about it still.
“I won’t be changing a thing about myself. I nearly changed my outfit immediately after to blend in. But no. Our community has fought too hard.”
Julian tweeted his thanks to train manager Lee, but noted that the police did not respond to reports of the incident despite being alerted from the train, allowing the perpetrators to leave the train at Crewe.
A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast tweeted, “We are really sorry to hear that this happened onboard one of our trains, Elektra. No one should have to experience that. Really glad to hear our TM [train manager] Lee was there to support you.”