Words: Steve Brown
A drag queen taking part in SAS: Who Dares Wins says he took part in the show to honour his ‘stoic’ army father who embraced his sexuality.
Mark Whistler – who performs under the stage name Cybil War – took part in the new series of the popular Channel 4 show, where contestants are put through a brutal regimen of SAS drills.
Today (January 14), Mark, 31, joined Good Morning Britain donning his drag alter ego and revealed he entered the show as a mark of respect to his father, a former SAS sergeant, who accepted his son’s sexuality.
Mark said: “I did this as a tribute to my dad... I was a huge fan of the show from the first series and said you know what I’ll give it a go.
“I felt like I had to prove something to my dad. We were eating 800 calories a day and had no sleep so I struggled with being back in the dorm never knowing when we could relax.
'I think he felt more comfortable in a war zone.'— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 14, 2020
Cybil War talks about the first time his army dad attended his drag show, as he follows in his father's footsteps by competing on 'SAS, Who Dares Wins.' pic.twitter.com/NqH2KDjDTT
“I lived in New York for two years and experimented with drag. My dad is still the stoic army colonel.
“I tried to figure out how to tell my dad I'm gay. His immediate response was, ‘I like Dame Edna.’ He was completely tolerant.”
Mark went on to tell Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid how his dad went on to support his son’s drag career by watching him perform.
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When @antmiddleton says go, you GO! 🙃🌊 Backwards diving into @sas_whodareswins with my incredible oppos @elliegregor and Kiersty on Day 1! Taking part in this insane course was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life and it’s so cool getting to watch it back! Thank you to everyone for your kind words too! It really means a lot 💖 #thisismydeathdrop #shablam #saswhodareswins #saswdw #saswhodareswins5 #backwardsdive
“He's very stoic so I didn't really have a gauge of how he would take it,” he said.
“He watched me once and I think he would have been more comfortable in a war zone than an LGBTQ club on Halloween.
“His eyes were opened. He saw some difficult things that night.”