“My religious family kicked me out for being gay – now I have the last laugh”

Lady Bushra – also known as Amir – who comes from an Orthodox Muslim family in Bradford, was nominated for the BBC New Comedy Award last year after only taking up drag and comedy in 2020

Lady Bushra wants to represent the queer South Asian community with her comedy and wit
Lady Bushra wants to represent the queer South Asian community with her comedy and wit

A drag queen who was kicked out by her ultra-religious family after coming out as gay said they’re “laughing to the bone now.”

Lady Bushra – also known as Amir – is originally from Bradford and now lives in Manchester with husband Aamir. It was only two years ago that she ventured into the world of drag and comedy.

But in 2021 she was nominated for the BBC New Comedy Award, which boasts previous nominees such as Joe Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan, Sarah Millican and Tez Ilyas.

Her drag personality, Bushra, comes from Amir, who wants to pay homage to his South Asian heritage, which is often overlooked not only in the LGBTQ+ and drag communities, but in comedy as well.







Lady Bushra portrays Boris Johnson as part of her performance
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Picture:

Instagram: @lady.bushra)

“I come from an ultra-Orthodox Muslim family and a fairly conservative household,” Bushra said Manchester evening news.

“The character is very honest and organic as it reflects some of the experiences I had in a small town in Bradford. Lady Bushra is one of those boisterous girls that everyone knows – every culture and every city has its own version of her.”

Growing up, Bushra never had a personality like her to look up to.

“People bullied me when I was younger and I experienced a lot of racial abuse,” explains Busha. “I started to feel ashamed of who I am and what I do.







Lady Bushra describes herself as the “OG Bradford Bad Girl”
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Picture:

Instagram: @lady.bushra)

“Since then I have learned that my heritage is my strength.

“I have a unique position where I’m British but have a South Asian background and I’ve found a way to capitalize on that. When you’re confident in knowing who you are, people are drawn to that confidence, and that’s something I’ve realized.”

Unfortunately, when Amir came out as gay to his family seven years ago at the age of 25, the experience was not a positive one.

“I don’t have a relationship with my family these days,” explains the actor.

“They kicked me out for being gay and I’ve really had no contact with them since. But I’m the one laughing all the way to the bank now.

“It was like death by a thousand paper cuts. After university I started to get a lot of pressure from my family to get married. When I got home they put this pressure on me and I just told them I didn’t want to get married because I was gay.

“Over time, it was like a slow snowball of deception. There is a limit and I’ve finally reached that point. They may have kicked me out, but I’ve since learned that it’s in my best interest to stay away. I think it’s actually quite a profound way of looking at it.”

Through discovering drag and finding her husband – whom she met through a mutual friend in 2014 – Bushra has learned that authenticity is the way forward in life.

Bushra explains, “Doing me and being my authentic self was the only logical way to go about things. I tend to state that not everyone has the ability to find their true calling.

“Too often I see people in my community doing things while I fear what people are going to say.

“I’m not here to make brownie points with toxic people and I’m happy to say that as a gay South Asian man I’ve broken down and can do what makes me happy. It’s worked well for me so far.”

The couple married in 2019 and holds the title as the first South Asian gay couple to marry in Bradford.

A year later they moved to Manchester. The couple also hosts their own Podcast You don’t love me where they discuss their perspective as a gay South Asian couple. To date, they have recorded more than 80 episodes on everything from Ramadan to standards of beauty.







Amir and Amir
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Picture:

Instagram: @youdontlovemeboys)

“I firmly believe that the universe is conspiring,” Bushra laughs of the couple’s move to the metropolitan area.

“We were keen to move to a bigger city but Manchester was never something on my radar. Still, it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It’s such a welcoming, open city.

“The drag scene here is fantastic and a lot of fun. I’m happy to be a part of Manchester now.”

Last year Bushra performed at Manchester Pride – and will appear again this year – alongside events in London and Cardiff and further afield in Prague, Berlin and Budapest. She says she loves having the opportunity to surprise people during her cabaret shows.

Among her sketches, footage of Bushra appearing head-to-toe in a black burqa before tearing off the traditional garment to reveal a Boris Johnson impersonation underneath has since gone viral.







“Doing me and being my authentic self was the only logical way to deal with things,” says Lady Bushra
(

Picture:

Instagram: @lady.bushra)

“Drag is a very diverse art form and sometimes that gets forgotten,” she explains.

“Bushra is certainly very diverse – there aren’t many places where you’re going to see Boris Johnson dancing to Lady Gaga.”

Going forward, Bushra would like to continue performing her cabaret show – which is currently touring the country – and stand up when the opportunity arises.

“I feel like there’s a tiny gap in the market that Bushra can slide her nimble shoulders through,” she says.

“Coming to a Lady Bushra show is like entertainment on acid, you’re going to have a fabulous time. It’s absolutely chaotic, but in the best possible way.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/my-religious-family-kicked-out-27209324 "My religious family kicked me out for being gay - now I have the last laugh"

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