Bullied 16-year-old who was told to 'go kill himself' after coming out as gay attends school prom in drag, says he feels empowered
A teen model said he felt "empowered" after crowds rushed to fawn over him when he attended his school prom in a drag outfit. Female friends of 16-year-old Daniel Allen envied him upon arriving at Fernwood School in Wollaton, Nottingham, Daily Mail reports.
Donning a ravishing wavy pink wig, high heels, and a custom-made Italian ruffle jumpsuit, the model shocked crowds at the prom night event.
Daniel continued to "be himself" despite facing prejudice throughout his childhood, he said, and stunned teachers, parents, and classmates in the glamorous ensemble.
Having been constantly mocked for "being different", Daniel was treated harshly by fellow male classmates after he came out of the closet at age 13. However, he said he "felt really empowered as soon as I got out the car."
"People rushed over, parents, and even a grandma," he recalled. "No one was expecting me to turn up in drag - 6ft 2ins with a pink wig and a custom-made outfit from Milan."
Daniel said his school had supported him in "who he wanted to be", and even allowed him to swap football and rugby for hockey and netball. "I used to take a lot of PE off because I did not want to get changed with the boys and had arguments with them," he said. "The girls were doing athletics and hockey. I found that more fun. That's when I said, 'Can I swap?' And they said I could."
Furthermore, he has consistently supported other students struggling to come to terms with their sexuality or how they were treated in society.
Daniels - who has walked the ramp in Milan and London - is a gender-fluid model, meaning he likes to wear both male and female outfits depending on his mood.
"When I was 13 I decided to wear makeup publicly," he said. "Sometimes I feel masculine and other days I feel pretty and put make-up on and some heels. I am quite self-conscious but when I am in make-up it gives me confidence. I came out a few months before I started wearing make-up and that is when the bullying became a problem. Children would say 'go kill yourself'. The school has been really supportive."
He is now set to train as a hairdresser having recently finished his GCSEs, and is also working on an upcoming drag show.
"It was wonderful to talk with Daniel and his mother at the Fernwood Prom," Headteacher Paul Burke said. "At Fernwood, we believe, that all young people should be supported to address the challenges that they may face and for all to be accepted. Understanding, kindness, and tolerance are values that we cherish. I would like to thank all the staff that helped Daniel during his time at the school."
"It was apparent at the age of two. He would go to the dress-up box for the Disney dresses," Daniel's mother Amanda Allen, 41, recalled. "I did try and encourage him to play football and have more male friends but as he got older, he got more and more unhappy and came out at 13."
She added: "He is one of four boys. He is so confident. Fernwood School has been unbelievable with him. Any concerns I can go straight to them."
Nonetheless, she said society still has a long way to go to accept boys like Daniel into their fold.
"It is getting ridiculous, the amount of hate crime. It has got to stop. It is on the rise," she continued. "Gay Pride is great for one day but I have seen the kids take the Pride stickers off their bags, put their clothes away so they don't get beat up on the way home. It is heartbreaking. These poor children - and adults - can't go out and express themselves. The more color we have in this world, the more amazing it is."