A teenage boy was banned from performing in drag at his school’s talent show.
Lewis Bailey, 14, was left distraught when he was told he couldn’t compete in Castle High School and Visual Arts College, in the West Midlands, after practising his lip-sync and dance for weeks.
His mother Natalie was told by the school that it is illegal for people under 18 to take part in drag competitions.
Lewis was set to play a medley of tracks by RuPaul, Little Mix and Ariana Grande but said the school’s decision is because they “don’t accept” him.
He told the Daily Mail: “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.”
His mother added: “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.
“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 multi-cultural 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.”
Despite Lewis being “heartbroken and confused” after the school’s decision, principal Michelle King defended the decision.
She 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 RuPaul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo.”