Queer Eye’s Tan France was beaten and left dead in a racist gang attack
The Queer Eye host wanted to explore his roots for a documentary about skin color and bleaching. As a schoolboy, he was targeted by a gang due to his Pakistani heritage.
Image: Jack Lawson, BBC / Cardiff Productions / Jack Lawson)
TV star Tan France returns to Britain after 15 years but withdraws from a trip home – haunted by the racial hatred he endured as a child.
The stylist and host of Netflix’s reality TV show Queer Eye was hitting the M1 highway to Doncaster, South Yorks, as traumatic memories flooded home.
He was determined to revisit his old spot for a documentary on skin color and bleaching.
But he couldn’t face securing an exit for Doncaster, where racist thugs beat him up and left him to die.
Tan said a gang attacked him on his way to school because he was Pakistani. He now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with husband Rob and son Ismail.
Tan said of his time in the UK: “As an Asian, a gay Muslim, I was desperate to leave. I have been interested in the color of my skin since the day I was born.
Jack Lawson, BBC / Cardiff Productions / Jack Lawson)
“Growing up in Doncaster, I always felt unsafe. I thought if I had fairer skin I wouldn’t be called P*** every day.
“I often wake up thinking, ‘What’s wrong with my skin today?’ It’s about survival. Can go home without being attacked.”
About the first time he bleached his skin, he added: “When I was 9 years old, I stole my sister’s bleaching cream and did it behind a locked door. It really hurts. And then it feels like a really bad sunburn.
“I did it again when I was 16 – ashamed of my ethnicity and color. I know now bleaching is a form of self-harm.”
Sales of skin bleaching products reach £7 billion – and are growing – annually.
Tan revealed on the show that some clinics in the UK bleach using liver disease drugs as a side effect of lightening the skin.
He also spoke with Kelly Rowland, from Destiny’s Child, who spoke out about colorism, a form of discrimination based on skin color.
Cardiff Productions, BBC / Cardiff Productions / Adam Wheeler)
She said: ‘My boyfriend’s grandmother compared my skin color to a paper bag and said I was too chocolatey.
“I have always been described as the darkest of the bunch. I want to be coveted for my beauty. I want to be Mariah’s shadow. I was pushed to the edge by colorism.”
Tan hopes his documentary will help debunk the beauty myth that white skin is better. A psychotherapist diagnoses him as deeply traumatized from the racist abuse he endured as a child.
Tan adds: “I hope to break the cycle that has pushed me and thousands of people like me to bleach. And still. ”
Tan France: Beauty & the Bleach is airing on BBC2, 9pm on Wednesdays.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/queer-eyes-tan-france-beaten-26780661 Queer Eye's Tan France was beaten and left dead in a racist gang attack