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Ginny LemonBBC

Ginny Lemon: 'Why I quit Drag Race UK'

Drag Race UK's Ginny Lemon on the outpouring of love after discussing their non-binary identity - and their dramatic self-elimination.

Harvey Day

This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

"I only went to make a cup of tea and by the time I'd come back all the lights were off and everyone had gone home," Ginny jokes. "I was completely none the wiser!"

Worcestershire queen Ginny Lemon is adored by Drag Race UK fans for their sparkling sense of humour, their unquestionably distinct style and their love of all things yellow.

And in last night's episode, queens, judges and viewers were left open-mouthed as Ginny walked off the main stage during the lip sync battle with Sister Sister.

So why did Ginny decide to leave?

"I did it for so many reasons," Ginny, 31, explains. "I think it's even hard to explain what was going through my head at the time."

Ginny says they struggled with the earlier eliminations of queens like Joe Black and Asttina Mandella, who were close friends of Ginny's before the competition.

"You could see me in the back sobbing," Ginny says. "Those two people were my friends before I went on the show.

"I did not want to compete with my sisters. It made me dreadfully sad anytime anybody went home."

Ginny LemonBBC
Ginny Lemon shocked fans by walking off the main stage during the lip sync battle with Sister Sister

Ginny adds that they didn't ever intend to win the show - but instead entered with the hope of mixing things up.

"I went there to break the binary, I went there to be myself, I did not go there to win a competition.

"I was having a fabulous time and I was challenged to do lots of things but ultimately I'm not a competitor, I'm an icon.

"I went on that show to do my own thing and that's exactly what I've done. So I'm very smug with myself right now."

And Ginny says they achieved everything they wanted to - other than showing off their Cilla Black impression during the Snatch Game episode.

"But you know, my Cilla Black is infamous so I can still do that whenever I want!" they laugh.

'It's not about being male or female, it's about being yourself'

In an earlier episode, Ginny also started a big conversation online about being non-binary - a term used to describe people who don't identify as male or female. Non-binary people often use they/them rather than gendered pronouns.

During their chat with fellow queen Bimini Bon Boulash, the two queens both talked about their shared experiences with being non-binary. Ginny explained their feelings of self loathing and being made to feel worthless.

Growing up, Ginny said during a conversation on the show, "anybody who was any different from the binary was a freak, an outsider".

And after the emotional moment, fans not only praised them for speaking out but told their own stories on social media of how they'd been inspired to open up to their friends and families about their non-binary identity.

"I'm not usually lost for words but I'd not been expecting the outpouring of love," Ginny says.

"The stories from other non-binary people and trans people or people who are coming out as whatever they want to come out as were fabulous."

Ginny and BiminiBBC
Ginny and Bimini Bon Boulash earlier talked about their shared experiences with being non-binary

For people who might not have encountered the term non-binary before, Ginny says: "Being non-binary is about not identifying with any gender.

"It's not about being male or female, it's about being yourself.

"I always describe gender as a circle, and female and male are on opposite sides of this circle and I seem to fall - like a dart - in the middle.

"To hit a bullseye is ideal and when I feel perfectly happy and completely genderless."

And Ginny says the impact on their life of discovering their non-binaryness was like "finding a key and unlocking the door".

"It's the best thing in the world, mate!" they laugh, "It's the best!

"I'm not worried about going into a shop and buying a man's deodorant or a woman's deodorant. I just don't want to smell so I just want deodorant!

"That's one of the empowering things: I can go into these places and think, 'I absolutely do not give a stuff and I don't need to be defined.'

"I can be who I want. I can wear what I want. And the more that I do that, the more it encourages other people to be visible. To be actively celebrating their non-binaryness."

'I grew up with no money'

Another important discussion Ginny had on the show was about growing up in a council house and being working class in the UK.

"Growing up working class, I grew up with no money, the idea of a mortgage wasn't a thing," Ginny says.

"So growing up working class has given me that work ethic to keep trying to achieve better for my life.

"But I just wish that as a child and a young adult that we all got the same head start. I feel like a lot of people, due to the class divide, got massive head starts.

"I was the first person in my family to ever go to university and I really had to fight for that. It wasn't easy.

"And I think a lot of people can relate to that. I mean, how many people live in a council house?

"There's no shame in living in a council house. I'm not ashamed of my upbringing but living in those estates and sometimes being on the poverty line, it cannot help but affect you.

"And I know there are thousands, if not millions, of people in the UK who also have that same sort of story.

"Regardless of what people think, we still live in a very class-defined country and with the political currents flowing the way they flow, you can see the ripples and divides within the class system."

Not wanting to end the interview on too serious a note, Ginny suddenly remembers: "I didn't even say, 'Fancy a slice?!'" - Ginny's now-famous catchphrase.

"FANCY A SLIIIIIIICE?!" they chuckle down the phone.