Man who fled Romania now loving life as Liverpool drag queen

A 20-year-old who fled his home country because of homophobia is now thriving as a drag queen in Liverpool.

Alin Birjan, more commonly known as Dys Alexia, left Romania at the age of 14, telling the ECHO he felt he “would have no future there.”

Alin and his family moved to the UK so he could start a new life as his true authentic self – and he says Liverpool welcomed him with open arms.

READ MORE: The ‘disgusting’ TV show that was ‘insult to Liverpool’ pulled by ITV bosses

The professional drag queen told the ECHO: ”God knows what would’ve happened if I stayed in Romania. I probably wouldn’t be here telling my story. Romania is honestly such a triggering word for me.

“The second I came out people started whispering, making up all sorts of rumours about me.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’ve always made fun of me for being so flamboyant, but it was like the tip of the iceberg when I officially came out.

“Every morning I would have to walk through this hallway to get to class, and there would always be a group of boys waiting in the hallway for me to pass, so they can either insult me, spit on me, or even push me.”

Alin came out when he was 12-year-old, something he says sometimes he regrets.

He continued: “I had to endure that [the bullying] for two years before it all got too much and got out of hand. Even when my mom tried to stop the bullying, it actually got worse.”

He added: “It felt like the world was against me. The only friend I had was an online one, all the way in America, so that helped me get through it.”

Now, the only person in Romania who Alin stays in contact with is his nan, who was the first one to know about his sexuality.

The events promoter says he would never return to Romania as he has “nothing left there except bad memories he doesn’t wish to re-live”.

Alin says his negative experiences as a teenager allowed him to have two successful businesses and a great drag career, as well as allowing him to meet his boyfriend.

Dys Alexia pictured with her boyfriend, Linda Gold and RuPaul's Drag Race's Choriza May
Dys Alexia pictured with her boyfriend, Linda Gold and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Choriza May

He explained: “I stand out for being a hard-worker and showing people that if you put your mind into something, you can achieve it.

“I mean, look at me. I attempted suicide three times and almost succeeded, I literally had to be dragged out of Romania as it was so bad there, and now I’m so successful in what I do.”

Alin’s drag persona started when he was just 17 after he met his boyfriend, another Liverpool drag queen known as Linda Gold, at Pride in Manchester.

Helplines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably (0800 58 58 58) is a leading movement against suicide. It runs a UK helpline and webchat from 5pm to midnight 365 days a year for anyone who has hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.
  • PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.

  • Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: support@ypas.org.uk
  • Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: paulsplace@beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk
  • The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: triage@gallierhouse.co.uk

He recalled: “We met up for a hang out and I’ve never gone home since.

“After a few days of us getting on so well, he revealed to me that he did drag as a part time job, which made me like him even more as that was so new to me.

“I never thought about drag until then. He was actually going to do a tour with his friends and invited me to be his photographer, so I said yes.

“Being around drag queens was so cool, they were so nice to me. The last day of the tour, they offered to do my makeup, and of course I said yes.”

A few days after his first foray into drag make-up, Alin stepped in to perform on the tour after one of the acts was forced to pull out at the last minute.

After that night Dys Alexia was born.

Dys Alexia is now the main queen at Funnyboyz Liverpool, a drag cabaret and safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

At Funnyboyz, Dys Alexia performs cabaret, hosts shows, DJs and even rubs shoulders with some of the queens who have appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race including Sum Ting Wong, Vanity Milan and Scarlett Harlett.

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