The Daily Mail reports…
“A five-year-old boy has been banned from his church playgroup because he likes to wear princess dresses.
Romeo Clarke, from Rugby, Warwickshire, who has three older sisters, has amassed a collection of 100 dresses and eight pairs of high-heeled children’s shoes.
The youngster likes to wear heels and something in his favourite colour, pink – such as socks or a hair clip, every single day. Romeo also likes having his hair straightened, his nails painted and playing with Barbie dolls.
He says he is unfazed by what people think.
But the organisers of Romeo’s after-school club, run by his his local church, believe his princess dresses were ‘confusing’ the other children and have asked him not to return. They say he can only rejoin the group if he wears gender-appropriate clothing.
His furious mother Georgina Clarke, 36, has lodged a complaint with the church, claiming they are discriminating against her son.
The stay-at-home single mother said: ‘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 started St Marie’s Catholic Primary School in Rugby, Warwickshire, last September and mother Georgina also 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.
Three weeks ago Georgina, who is also mother to Kayla, 19, Amber 18, and Keisha, 12, was approached by the organisers of the group, who informed her Romeo was no longer welcome.
She said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Georgina says Romeo has had an eye for ‘glitzy things’, since he was two years old.
‘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 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.’
Romeo’s father Winston Morris, 42, a builder, who has separated from the family, added: ‘I don’t care if he wears the dress. He can be whatever he wants to be.
‘I am not happy with the way the whole thing has been dealt with.
‘We think he has been singled out and he definitely won’t be going back.’
Mrs Venables, the Minister in Training at the Rugby Christian Fellowship yesterday defended the decision.
She 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.’