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Teenage Dudley drag queen stars in BBC documentary after act was banned at school

By Harriet Evans | Dudley | News | Published:

A 15-year old boy from Dudley who was banned from performing a drag act at his school has told his story in a BBC documentary.

Lewis Bailey, aged 15 from Dudley, performs in drag as alter-ego Athena Heart

Lewis Bailey was told by Castle High School, now St James Academy, that his act was not permitted, saying it celebrated diversity but was not appropriate due to his age.

When the news of the ban went public last year, messages of support poured in from drag queens across the country.

Despite the setback, Lewis decided to put on his own drag show at Dudley Ex-Servicemen's Club, which has now become the focus of an episode of CBBC documentary 'My Life, Not Just a Boy in a Dress'.

Lewis put on his own show at Dudley Ex-Servicemen's Club

In the documentary, Lewis said: "I want to show that drag is not just a kid in a wig and a dress.

"I know how it feels to not be accepted so I'm putting on a show where kids like me can be proud to be different.

"I've always known I was different from a very young age, I know there are some people that think me being young, gay and dressing as a woman is wrong, but I don't listen to the opinions of haters when I'm happy being who I am."

Lewis has since appeared on ITV's This Morning, where he explained how the new headteacher at St James Academy, Ian Moore, is far more supportive.

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WATCH Lewis on This Morning:

The Inspirational Teenage Drag Queen on Standing Up to Bullies | This Morning

Lewis performed at his show as Athena Heart alongside other young performers at the event in September which was called Proud To Be Different.

The show attracted a crowd of more than 50 people and was in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust, which helps LGBTQ+ young people feel safe and supported.

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Speaking about why he chose to support the charity, Lewis said: "I know some of the things they do for people like me and it feels incredible to know that someone actually supports people that aren't as accepted and it means a lot because I haven't always been accepted."

The documentary also followed the relationship he has with his family of 10 who all pulled together to make the show happen.

Step-dad, Dale, added: "Over the last year or so he's started to open up to me and I'm really really proud of him."

The episode from the My Life series is available on BBC iPlayer here.

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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