Twelve-year-old Desmond Napoles has divided people – while some are praising the young drag queen’s bravery and confidence, others have called for child services to step in. Network Ten's chat show Studio 10 spoke to Desmond and his mum.
WATCH THE STUDIO 10 INTERVIEW HERE:
Desmond, also known as Desmond is Amazing, became interested in drag as a toddler, after watching episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which airs on Netflix, with his mum, Wendy.
His website says: “He thought the drag queens were so amazing and beautiful, like princesses.”
The star made his professional drag debut in RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon’s music video when he was just a 7-year-old.
Desmond says: “People should be able to dance, sing, or dress in any way. You can express yourself however you want. It doesn’t matter if you like jazz or rap, ballet or ballroom, dresses or suits.”
“You can do you. I like Diana Ross. Maybe you do too.”
Speaking to Studio 10 about when her 12-year-old son first started wearing girls' clothes, Wendy said: “All kids dress up, so the dressing up part didn’t bother me at all.”
“But as it kept getting more interesting – in particular in girls' dresses or princess dresses – then we did go to a therapist.”
The mum explained that the therapist told her not to encourage it and not to discourage it but to let it happen naturally.
Today, Desmond – who has over 170,000 followers on social media – continues to perform on stage and at events, prouder than ever.
He has walked down the runways of New York Fashion Week and appeared in Vogue magazine four times, breaking the age and gender boundaries of the fashion industry.
But Wendy reveals on Studio 10 that not everyone was so accepting and co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley asks about the hurtful comments Desmond has received, and why child services got involved.
“We’ve had over 300 cases called in, we’ve been investigated by 7 different agencies and all of them have come back cleared,” Wendy told Studio 10.
“There is no child abuse in our home. The only thing is we’re allowing Desmond to do what he enjoys – which is dressing up and performing.”
“We just roll with the punches,” Wendy explains. “Because we know that we’re doing the right thing as parents and a lot of people don’t understand that.”
She is also questioned about a video, which shows Desmond performing at a gay bar with people throwing money at him.
Wendy explains: “It was an all-ages show, it was in a safe space. There aren’t a lot of safe heterosexual spaces he can perform in.”
“He wasn’t around alcohol. He was on stage and back stage and he dad in the audience and mum back stage, so I don’t understand what the controversy is – I think a lot of it is fabricated.”
Asking Desmond about his gender, co-host Sarah Harris says: “You’re a boy who likes to dress in drag, is that right?”
He then nods, give a thumbs up and replies: “Correct.”
And what’s the 12-year-old Desmond's message?
“Be yourself always no matter what anyone says.”