Beloved drag queen and LGBTQ advocate who ‘always shone bright’ dies aged 43


Martin Greenfield, AKA Honey Lingus, is thought to have been one of the first black drag queens performing in Newcastle when they started their act in the 1990s

Martin Greenfield, who performed as ‘Honey Lingus’

Friends and family of a beloved drag queen who was a fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights have told of how they “radiated warmth” to everyone they met.

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Martin Greenfield, who performed as “Honey Lingus”.

Martin died at the age of 43 last week, after a struggle with illness and some mental health issues, Chronicle Live reports .

As both Martin and Honey, they were much-loved as a performer and a friend, who will be remembered for their “energy, light, joy, empathy.”

Trailblazing Martin is thought to have been one of the first black drag queens performing in Newcastle when they started their act in the 1990s.







Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Martin
(

Image:

Mark Stephenson)

Close friend Mark Stephenson remembered them as “a star that always shined bright”.

Mark has known Martin since they were both 18, when Martin moved to the North East from Hong Kong.

The pair worked at popular club Powerhouse together, and Mark recalled how Honey began to come to life as Martin became a part of Newcastle’s LGBTQ scene.

He said: “Martin was always bigger than life, very flamboyant, people’s attention was always drawn to Martin’s clothes and long nails. Back in 1997, 1998, when they started performing as Honey, she was probably one of Newcastle’s first black drag queens.

“Martin was a perfectionist so they always looked unreal, absolutely beautiful.

“Honey would work a room and was able to sing brilliantly, could always hold a note, and was very much a perfectionist in terms of being the most beautiful person in the room.

“They did seasons in Ibiza, performing around the world as Honey and they loved that.

“Honey was really well-known around the gay scene in Newcastle.”

With a vibrant energy that couldn’t be ignored, Martin loved music and dance and worked with various cultural organizations across the North East.

Mark fondly remembered their love of music – Martin was once dancing so joyfully at a Diana Ross concert in Newcastle that they were invited up on stage – but also the quieter side of Martin, who loved nature, gardening and cooking.

Mark said: “There’s Honey and there’s Martin and they are two different people. Honey is Martin’s bigger-than-life person.

“Martin was a very loving person who would give their all to everybody, they were very into growing things and learning new skills, spicing all the food they cooked up to the hilt.

“That was a different side of Martin.”

A fierce advocate for LGBTQ rights, Martin refused to let prejudice stop them from being themselves.

Mark remembers a more hostile environment in the city in the 90s when Martin started performing, but on or off stage, they refused to be kept silent.

He said: “Martin was not scared of anything or being the first person to do anything. I remember when we were 18, walking round Newcastle, and Martin was quite obviously a gay person and people would shout ‘p***’ or ‘ f*****’ and I’d be worried, but Martin would just own it, saying ‘Mark, these people don’t bother me’.

“Martin was always very much at the forefront of fighting for what they believed in.

“I think Martin was someone who paved the way for people and they were definitely someone who did that by being themselves, whether as Martin or when performing as Honey.

“I’m just so proud that I had them in my life, because I think my life would very much not have been the same if it wasn’t for Martin.”

Loved ones are set to say farewell to Martin in a natural burial ceremony and a celebration of their life and their family is currently raising money to commemorate them as they would have wished.

On a GoFundMe page which has already collected more than £2,000, their brother, Steve Greenfield, said: “From events with thousands of people down to intimate and real person-to-person conversations, Martin’s beauty and warmth radiated to everyone.

“For my part, being sometime witness to the joy they brought, and knowing people in Martin’s many friendship circles, I can say their energy, light, joy, empathy and, at their best, glorious nature will echo, reverberate, and resonate always .

“Martin was a stunning, unique soul; Honey a fierce and compassionate entertainer.

“Together their force led to a life, though shortened, that was full to the brim with experiences, events, friends and times of truly living.”

He added: “We were all better for knowing Martin or Honey – or indeed both. I have lost a brother, a sister and the person who knew me the best in the entire world.”

Donations towards the celebrations of Martin’s life are being collected at https://www.gofundme.com/f/celebrating-martin-honey

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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