A Shropshire teenager started a protest that led to his secondary school overturning a ban on wearing drag.
Philipp Penning, a student at Telford’s Charlton School in Shropshire, wanted to wear a dress to his Leavers’ Assembly on his last day of school, but claims he was initially told it wasn’t allowed.
Fellow students of the 16-year-old protested against the decision by setting up a petition and ‘Justice For Philipp’ Facebook page and website.
After receiving 283 signatures, the school overturned the ban.
Penning said his decision to dress in drag for the event was inspired by his recent part in the high school’s production of ‘Hairspray’.
“Recently, I performed in the school’s production of ‘Hairspray’ as the character Edna,” Penning told the Birmingham Mail. “The teacher who was helping us was very impressed by the performance and suggested I did something related to that. I thought this was a brilliant idea.
“However, when I spoke to the other teachers about wearing a dress for the Leavers’ Assembly and possibly even wearing drag, they said they needed to think about it.”
“That same day I was stopped before I left the building and was told I couldn’t.”
Penning wore a tight red dress and heels to the Leavers’ Assembly on Friday 12 May, and sang Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.