14 year old Lewis Bailey, also known as Athena Heart, has been left reeling after his school banned him from doing drag in the term-end talent show.
The young diva, who attends Castle High School and Visual Arts College in Dudley in England, found out about the ban just a day before the show.
“I’m heartbroken and confused. After all the effort I have put into it, it has knocked my confidence a lot,” he told The Guardian.
“When I’m in drag I feel I’m truly being myself.”
Bailey was reportedly inspired to explore the art of drag after seeing RuPaul’s Drag Race.
After Bailey’s mother initially alleged the school told her his performing in drag would be illegal, Castle High’s principal has said that it would not have been “age appropriate” for Bailey to perform in drag.
“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’,” principal Michelle King said.
“We understood Lewis wanted to appear in the style of RuPaul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo.
We invited Lewis to appear in the show as a singer and were happy for him to dress in any manner he wished.”
Bizarrely, the school had already allowed Bailey – who is out and proud – to attend a free dress day in drag, the BBC reported.
“We respect the long tradition of female impersonation in theatre. However, to appear as a drag queen goes beyond this,” King said.
SLAY HUNNYYY! I’m so God damn proud of you and I’m glad I get to call you my brother, I’m happy you’re being yourself and expressing yourself through drag! @TheAthenaHeart 💙 pic.twitter.com/EgUxNyWAA8
— 🐧 Mar 💜 (@MariahBailey99) July 23, 2018
Heartwarmingly, drag queens all over the UK, including Drag Race season 9 contestant Charlie Hides, have reached out to Bailey to offer him a chance to perform with them.
The talent show was set to be his first public performance as Athena Heart, having spent hours with his stepdad editing together a fabulous-sounding medley of Little Mix, RuPaul and Ariana Grande songs, among others.
But Athena Heart seems destined for stardom regardless.