Birmingham & Black Country

Drag teen banned from Dudley school talent show

Lewis Bailey in drag Image copyright Adam Hughes /
Image caption Despite being told he could not perform in Castle High School's talent show, Lewis Bailey went to school in drag on Friday

A 14-year-old boy was banned from performing his drag act at his school's end-of-year talent show.

Lewis Bailey, who performs as Athena Heart, was told by Castle High School and Visual Arts College in Dudley that his performance was not permitted, a day before it was to go ahead.

He said he was upset by the decision, and chose to go to school in drag on Friday's non-uniform day.

The school said it celebrated diversity but felt the act was not "appropriate".

Lewis has been doing drag for the last five months after being inspired by the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race, shown on Netflix in the UK.

As a result of his school-ban becoming public, he has been invited to perform with the stars of its latest season in Birmingham in August.

His mother Natalie, 37, said he had spent hours putting together a mix of songs for the show last Tuesday, even editing out any bad language.

Image copyright Adam Hughes /
Image caption Lewis's mother Natalie Bailey said she was "annoyed" that the school had not contacted her directly

The mother-of-three said the family was "very proud" of his act, but he was told the day before he could not do it because he was under 18.

She said: "At first he was quite down, it knocked his confidence.

"But since it happened he has had so many positive comments it has really built him up. Drag has really improved his confidence a lot."

Image copyright Lewis Bailey
Image caption Lewis has been a pupil at Castle High School since November, when his family moved from Telford

Lewis added: "When I'm in drag, feel like myself; I can express the other side of myself."

He dressed up to go to school on Friday, adding: "It was great, all my friends loved it."

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The school said: "Our decision not to let Lewis perform was based on his age and the nature of his act.

"We are happy for Lewis to express his identity in whichever way he chooses, when it is appropriate for him to do so, as he did on Friday at our non-uniform day."

Image copyright Adam Hughes /
Image caption Lewis said he hoped to tour his act and appear on RuPaul's Drag Race

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