Converse announced on Tuesday (7 May) its partnership with 11-year-old drag queen Desmond is Amazing (real name Desmond Napoles).
But after the announcement, conservative commentators began calling for a boycott of Converse.
According to Desmond’s mother, Wendylou, some commentators have even go as far as urging each other to call Child Protective Services on her family.
‘The conservative media is up in arms about Desmond being featured in Converse’s new Pride campaign,’ she told Gay Star News, via Instagram. ‘They are suggesting that Converse promotes pedophilia by showcasing a drag kid who stripped in a sleazy gay bar while adult males showered him with money.’
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Wendylou revealed CPS has already received ‘several reports’ since the campaign debuted on Monday (6 May).
‘The conservatives are calling in child abuse and child exploitation as the complaints to CPS,’ she revealed. Again abusing CPS resources. Again trying to use CPS as a weapon against our family.’
Wendylou then revealed CPS investigated her family between December last year and March this year. The reports found no abuse or maltreatment.
She then continued: ‘They say Converse is trying to be a “woke brand”.
‘This is an attack on all LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth who are trying to express themselves,’ she said.
Desmond is Amazing is ‘very proud’
Wendylou said Desmond is so proud of the Converse campaign he’s a part of.
‘He is spreading the message that it is okay for kids to drag,’ she said. ‘Explore their identity and express themselves, without shame, without hiding.’
She then continued: ‘We always think about the young people out there Desmond helps. We receive dozens of messages each day thanking Desmond for being an inspiration, for allowing people to be themselves, to give people the courage to come out to their family.
‘Desmond is a pure example of living your truth unapologetically,’ she added.
Defense of performing in gay bars
It’s not the first time Wendylou has come to the defense of her drag queen son.
Back in January, an article came out that accused her of ‘exploiting’ him and ‘forcing him’ to perform in gay bars.
She shot back: ‘THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN BLATANT HOMOPHOBIA and [a] display of the grossly outdated belief that gay men are pedophiles,’ she wrote.
Wendylou then continued: ‘The truth is, Desmond is a professional drag performer. No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.’
She also said his costumes are always age-appropriate, he collects tips for toys and he’s never allowed into the bar area.
‘Instead of tearing drag kids down, why not mentor them?’ she said. ‘They are the future of drag.’
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This is not the first time Desmond is Amazing has been the face of LGBTI-inclusive brands.
He walked the runway for label Gypsy Sport as part of New York Fashion Week.
New York City Pride also unveiled the first of a series of social media films featuring the 11-year-old drag queen.
In the 30-second film, which features Desmond being made-up by a makeup artist, he explains what makes him ‘defiantly different.’
‘I am different because I am very young and doing drag at a very young age,’ he said. ‘It makes me feel amazing.’
He then added: ‘It gives me courage, and it also gives other people courage to do what they want.’