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14-year-old drag queen banned by school to appear at London’s leading drag bar

14-year-old drag queen banned by school to appear at London’s leading drag bar

Lewis Bailey as his drag persona, Athena Heart, on ITV's This Morning yesterday

A 14-year-old British schoolboy is to appear in drag at two of the UK’s most famous gay cabaret bars.

Lewis Bailey made headlines in the UK this week after he was banned for performing at his school talent show in drag.

Lewis, of Dudley in the Midlands, is a big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and had been practicing his routine for several weeks. His drag persona is named Athena Heart, and he planned to lip-sync to a medley of songs. Staff at school had at first been supportive of his desire to perform.

However, Lewis was left ‘heartbroken’ by the decision to not allow him to take part, which he was informed about only the day before last week’s talent show.

The school’s headteacher allegedly told Lewis’ mom at first that she had taken legal advice it was illegal for him to perform in drag under the age of 18.

His mother, Natalie, 37, was furious at the decision, telling Dudley News: ‘I think the school are being judgmental.

‘There’s no law over impersonating a female and doing a dance.’

Lewis came out as gay to his mom and stepdad, Dale Griffiths, last year.

@sharonneedlespgh has been replaced❤️💀

A post shared by Athena/Lewis (@the.athena.heart) on


Lewis’ head teacher responded to criticism by clarifying the reasoning behind the ban.

Michelle King, principal at Castle Academy, denies saying it was ‘illegal’ and said in a statement: ‘Castle is an inclusive school that celebrates diversity. With regard to the performance of our student Lewis Bailey at the end-of-term talent show; we made the decision that it was not age appropriate for either the learner and for the intended audience, his peer group, for Lewis to appear as a “drag act.”’

Cabaret bars contact Lewis Bailey for bookings

However, although his school believes it’s not appropriate, others have rushed to show Lewis support. He has been contacted by several RuPaul drag queens, and several gay pubs and promoters.

Lewis makes his debut appearance tonight at Eden Bar in Birmingham, near his home town of Dudley.

It’s also confirmed that he will perform at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London on Sunday 12 August. Lewis will appear as part of Charlie Hides’ afternoon Sunday Service. Charlie himself is a Drag Race alumni, having appeared on Season Nine.

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is arguably the most famous cabaret bar in London, having played host to LGBTI nights and drag shows for decades. Lewis also says he will be appearing at leading drag convention DragWorld UK in London on 19 August.

Speaking to GSN, Lewis said: ‘It’s really exciting to finally be able to show everyone who Athena Heart is. I want to let other people my age know it’s OK to be different and continue to be who they want to be.’

Following the news of his banned performance, Lewis visited London yesterday to take part in several radio and TV interviews. Watch him talking about his love of drag on This Morning below.

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