The mother of a non-binary child who loves dressing up in drag has revealed the threats she received from other parents for allowing the 11-year-old to be themself.
Jemma Lovell, from Shrewsbury, said her child Oz found out about drag when they saw snippets of her watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and was immediately interested.
She told Metro that Oz began experimenting with makeup around the age of eight during their theatre lessons, and eventually said to her: “I understand how they feel. I don’t feel like a boy, Mummy.”
In August 2018 the whole family, which includes Oz’s father and sibling Willow, attended Chester Pride celebrations.
Lovell said: “We were in one of the tents, and Oz spent ages reading over posters that had all the different explanations of gender.
“Eventually, they came and got me and pointed to one about being non-binary, telling me they didn’t feel like a boy or a girl and didn’t want to be a ‘he’ anymore, but rather a ‘they.’
“It’s never been an issue in the family. We don’t know what’s going on in Oz’s head, but we want them to feel free to explore who they are.”
Since that day at Pride, Oz has expressed more and more interest in drag, and now has their own drag name: Ben Trulyoutrageous.
Oz’s mum helped them get in touch with other kids that do drag, and they have performed to friends and at local talent shows.
But Lovell said that while their family accepted non-binary, drag-loving Oz with open arms, other families were not so welcoming.
Other parents have said they believe that drag is sexual, and have even threatened to call social services on the family.
Lovell continued: “People tend to automatically sexualise drag, assuming Oz will come out dressed in hip pads and fake breasts, but we carefully vet everything to make sure that nothing is age-inappropriate.
“We make it clear Oz is still a child, no matter how high the heels or big the wig. When Oz puts on that dress and becomes Ben, it’s awe-inspiring to watch.
“I can see our child visibly glowing. It’s like they’re free, almost a heightened version of themselves. As parents, we don’t want Oz to be stigmatised for feeling different. Even if this is just a phase, we have allowed them to explore those feelings.”
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