Boy, 5, Banned From After-School Club For Wearing A Dress

A five-year-old boy has been banned from attending a church-run after-school club because he chooses to wear Princess dresses.

Romeo Clarke, from Rugby, Warwickshire, has a collection of 100 dresses and eight pairs of high heels.

A bit of fun and a way for a child to express himself? Not according to organisers of his after-school club, who have asked Romeo to stay away, unless he ditches the dresses.

The organisers claim Romeo's dress sense is 'confusing' the other children and have asked him not to return until he wears 'gender-appropriate clothing'.

Romeo's furious mum Georgian, 36, has lodged a complaint with the church.

She told reporters: "I was so cross when I was told he couldn't wear dresses I was speechless - all I could ask was, why?

"Wearing the dress is his choice and if wearing it makes him happy, it's fine with me. This is not a case of my son being trapped in a girl's body - he's a normal boy who, because he has three big sisters, likes wearing dresses. What is wrong with that?"

Romeo attends St Marie's Catholic Primary School in Rugby. Last September Georgina enrolled him in the Buzz Children's Club at their local church. The club, which is run by the Rugby Christian Fellowship Church, charges £1 per week for children aged 5-7 to to attend every Wednesday from 4.30-6pm.

However, three weeks ago, Georgina was told Romeo wasn't welcome in his dresses.

"I was shocked and surprised. The leader, Bex Venables, who is a really lovely lady, said she didn't think it was appropriate he wore the dress," said Georgina.

"She said it was upsetting and confusing the other children. She took to me to one side after I dropped him off and said 'Romeo will be welcome back when he wears clothes which match his gender'.

"I spoke to three other parents who take their children to the group. I asked them if Romeo wearing the dress concerned them or their children in any way and they all said no.

"What does the gender matter? Romeo keeps asking when he is going back and I don't know what to say. He is going to be so upset as he loves going to play there.

"He has always been surrounded by girls I suppose, with his three older sisters. If he asks for it, they straighten his hair and paint his nails when they are doing theirs.

"Romeo has about 100 dresses and high heels, too. He has to wear something pink everyday, even something like a hair clip. He pretty much comes home from school, throws off his uniform, puts on a dress and starts singing.

"His favourite film is Frozen and he loves acting out the role of the princesses with his sisters. He wears his dress to the supermarket and sings down the aisles, he isn't bothered what people think. I don't think he should be, I'm proud he is so free and comfortable with himself.

"He took a Barbie to school the other week, I did warn him the other children might say something but he didn't care. He is friends with boys and girls, but mostly girls. I think he is quite theatrical so he might end up on the stage, I guess. He loves performing.

"I try to encourage his boy side too and he goes rock climbing once a week and swimming but I think he wants to do ballet too.

"The whole family is very supportive. He won't be going back to that club, he will just have to go somewhere else."

Mrs Venables, the Minister in Training at the Rugby Christian Fellowship said: "Georgina's son is still allowed to attend Buzz Children's Club but has been asked to wear clothing of the gender stated on his registration form, which states male.

"This request is no different from what is asked by his school, where he wears a boys' uniform. Buzz Children's Club seeks to follow our usual safeguarding guidelines and we did so in this case in order to avoid any confusion or possible conflict or teasing from other children."

What do you think? Frock off?