Teen drag queen Lewis Bailey makes Rylan Clark-Neal cry with pride on This Morning
This Morning host Rylan Clark-Neal has emotionally praised the 14-year-old drag queen who was stopped from performing his act in a school talent show.
Lewis Bailey was told the day before the contest at Castle High School and Visual Arts College in the west Midlands that he would not be allowed to go on stage as drag queen Athena Heart.
The teenager, who came out as gay to his mum and stepdad last year and has performed his drag act for them at home, said he was “heartbroken,” adding that the school told him “it’s because it is illegal – but I think the real reason is they don’t accept me for who I am.”
He has since accepted an invitation to star at DragWorld UK alongside queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and revealed today (July 25) that eight students had dropped out of the show to protest the school’s decision.
The drag queen told This Morning‘s hosts Clark-Neal and Ruth Langsford: “It helps me a lot because originally in my last school I didn’t have that much support, and now I’ve moved to this school; I’ve got a lot of support.”
Lewis also revealed that he’d “like to become a professional drag queen,” before explaining why he had wanted to shine a light on what happened to him.
“The reason I brought out my story was to help others that are in my position, to say that it’s okay to be different and proud of who you are,” he told the ITV presenters.
Clark-Neal told Lewis that “there was something this morning that actually made me well up” when he was learning about the teenager’s tale.
“I was very emotional about it,” he explained, “because you said: ‘Everyone in the school supports me, eight people dropped out of the talent show when they heard that I wasn’t allowed to do it.’
“It’s giving me chills now,” said Clark-Neal.
“That statement now, for a 14-year-old boy to say that – and I know you’ve said you’re openly gay as well – to sit there at your age and say that just shows in leaps and bounds how much people of your age now are accepting of sexuality.”
He added: “I’ve got to say – I think you are amazing, I really, really do, and if I had half the confidence at 14 years old, to be who I wanted to be, I’d be very, very happy with myself.
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“I think you’re amazing, and we all do at This Morning.”
Lewis was then given tickets to West End shows Kinky Boots and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the latter of which follows a teenage drag queen who Lewis will be able to go behind the scenes and meet.
The number of children embracing drag culture is seemingly on the rise, with one star, American 10-year-old Desmond Napoles, taking the world by storm.
Known on social media as Desmond is Amazing, the drag kid has around 80,000 followers on Instagram and even created the first ever drag club for just for children, Haus of Amazing.
Drag kids do still face challenges though, with one nine-year-old star, Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden – who performs as Lactatia – experiencing a horrific backlash after they modelled for a clothing company.