Lewis Bailey put his heart and soul into his talent show routine for Castle Hills High School and Visual Arts College in Dudley, West Midlands, England only to be told he could not perform the night before the big event. The school’s administrator claimed that his drag routine was not “age appropriate,” even though there was no sexual content or profanity in his routine.
The incident represents, yet again, an attempt by school leaders and administrators to police kids’ and teens’ gender expression in school settings. But, Bailey, who performs as the drag persona Athena Heart, is not without support or encouragement. His stepfather is the one who helped him mix his songs and his grandmother bought him the heels he planned to wear during his performance. Since the news, he has also received an overflowing amount of support from people through social media.
The outcry over the school’s decision was so impactful that it reached the producers of DragWorld, Europe’s largest drag celebration and convention. Lewis has been invited to perform at the event in August--allowing him to showcase the program he was not allowed to perform at school.
The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.