A 14-year-old boy has been banned from his school talent show because of his drag act.
Lewis Bailey, who is gay, was distraught when he was told by teachers that his act, which he had been practicing for weeks, wasn’t allowed to go on.
His mother Natalie, 37, is furious with the school, who claim that it is illegal for under-18s to take part in drag act competitions.
But Lewis and his family have accused the school of making it up so they can stop his act from going ahead.
Lewis said the rejection from Castle High School and Visual Arts College in Dudley just a day before the show has damaged his self-esteem.
The principal said the school ‘stands by our belief that it is not appropriate for young people to perform drag acts’.
But Lewis said: ‘They claim it’s because it is illegal – but I think the real reason is they don’t accept me for who I am.
‘I’m heartbroken and confused. After all the effort I have put into it, it has knocked my confidence a lot.
‘When I’m in drag I feel I’m truly being myself.’
His mum Natalie added: ‘I think the school are being judgemental.
‘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.
‘The school is very multicultural and I think the school think 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.’
Lewis decided he wanted to be a drag performer after watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, a popular American TV series featuring talented drag queens that perform to win a huge cash prize.
Lewis came out as gay to his mum and stepdad Dale Griffiths, 40, an ambulance driver, last year, and Natalie has said his new drag queen hobby has seen him massively gain confidence.
Mum-of-three Natalie said his new hobby – which includes immaculate make up and choreography – has seen the once-withdrawn lad come out of his shell.
Lewis was planning on doing a medley of pop songs with his stepdad, and has been practising hard since he entered the competition three weeks ago.
But the school pulled him out of lessons to tell him he couldn’t perform on Monday.
Natalie said: ‘One of the teachers told him he couldn’t do it anymore because the law that says you can’t do competitions as a drag act if you are under 18.
‘His act for the talent show was dressing as a lady and dancing. There is no swearing, no raunchy behaviour, nothing over the top.
‘It’s just him dressing as a female doing a dance.
‘I can’t believe it.
‘I spoke to the headteacher and she asked if I was removing him from the school because I wasn’t happy with the decision.
‘I said no. Why should he miss out on his education because of their views.’
Michelle King, principal at Castle Academy, said: ‘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’.
‘We understood Lewis wanted to appear in the style of Ru Paul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo.
‘This decision was made one day before the planned show, when the full nature of his performance was made known.
‘We respect the long tradition of female impersonation in theatre, however to appear as a drag queen, goes beyond this.’
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