A 14-year-old boy in the United Kingdom was banned from performing in drag at his school’s talent show.
The boy, Lewis Bailey, was distraught after he was told he could not compete after practicing his lip-sync and dance for weeks.
His mother, 37-year-old Natalie, was allegedly told by the school that it is illegal for people under the age of 18 to take part in drag competitions.
Lewis said he was ‘not being accepted for who [he is].’ He was inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race and was ‘heartbroken and confused’ at his school’s decision.
The principal’s decision
The principal of Castle High School and Visual Arts College in Dudley, West Midlands stood by the school’s decision. According to the principal, the decision was an issue of ‘age appropriateness.’
‘Castle is an inclusive school that celebrates diversity,’ principal Michelle King told The Daily Mail.
‘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.’
‘We understood Lewis wanted to appear in the style of RuPaul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo.’
The banned act
Lewis’ performance was to include a medley of tracks by RuPaul, Little Mix, and Ariana Grande. He planned to wear a long silver wig, a floral get-up purchased on eBay, and a pair of heels his grandmother had gifted him.
The talent show was set for a Tuesday. On Monday, Lewis was pulled out of class and told he could not participate.
‘They claim it’s because it is illegal – but I think the real reason is they don’t accept me for who I am,’ Lewis told The Daily Mail.
‘I’m heartbroken and confused. After all the effort I have put into it, it has knocked my confidence a lot.’
With the help of drag performance, Natalie saw her introverted son come out of his shell.
‘There’s no law over impersonating a female and doing a dance. We can’t find anything anywhere that says that, and anyway it’s a school talent show, not a competition,’ Natalie said.
‘His act for the talent show was dressing as a lady and dancing. There is no swearing, no raunchy behaviour, nothing over the top.’
‘The school is very multicultural and I think the school thinks some of the parents won’t like it. But people should be able to do what they want to do and be who they want to be.’
‘They have really knocked his confidence. They have knocked his confidence to zero.’
Many children under the age of 18 have been inspired by drag. For instance, 10-year-old Desmond Napoles has received global fame for the viral videos of him in drag. In fact, Napoles announced earlier this year that he’s starting his own drag house especially for kids.