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Desmond Napoles 'Desmond is Amazing' in NYC Pride's promotion Video. NYC Pride / Youtube
Caroline Farrow

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Parents react with outrage to BBC featuring 11-year-old ‘drag kid’ on segment for youth

Caroline Farrow

LONDON, February 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has uncritically promoted controversial child "drag kid" performer, 11-year-old Desmond Napoles, via its World Service radio station and caused dismay among listeners.

An episode of "BBC Minute" that aired February 9 was titled “You’re never too young to start doing drag” and featured Napoles in a selection of his adult female-themed outfits and wigs together with his mother Wendy stating that her son’s drag act is a “perfectly natural childhood expression.”

The video posted on the BBC World Service’s Twitter account depicts Desmond wearing a heavy layer of stage makeup and using adhesive to apply fake eyelashes proclaiming that “drag is for everyone and everything. It makes me feel happy and amazing because I am helping people express themselves.” His mother adds, “He inspires a lot of LGBTQ youth as well. As a parent, if your child wants to do drag, that’s fine. All children dress up, if that’s the way they want to express themselves, let them experiment. We do also get messages from parents who say that our kids are just like Desmond and it’s so inspiring for them.”

The broadcast provoked a number of angry responses, notably from women and mothers on Twitter complaining about the grooming and sexualization of children. One user, Clare Joyce, rebuked the BBC, saying “this is not just dressing up. This is the sexualisation of a child. It is totally irresponsible to promote this without question.”

Other users highlighted the boy’s appearances in gay nightclubs where he ripped off his clothes while adult men showered him with money and hollered their appreciation. They also pointed out that  Desmond, who has autism, was featured in a YouTube talk show hosted by Michael Alig, a former 1990s star of the New York club scene who was convicted of the first-degree manslaughter and dismemberment of drug-dealer Andre Melendez.

One tweeter asked whether the BBC had learned their lesson as to the dangers of child sexualization and exploitation after the Jimmy Savile inquiry, where the BBC was shown to have ignored decades of sexual abuse carried out by a number of their former stars. That sentiment was shared by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, the activist behind the "adult human female" billboards who told LifeSiteNews that she was “surprised that the BBC were so cavalier when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children.” “Perhaps,” Keen-Minshull said, “the BBC has forgotten their complicity in the actions of the monstrous pedophile Savile, or maybe they just don’t like children very much. One has to question the culture in which grooming children is so rife.”

Some of the Twitter responses to the BBC posted photographs of the boy in sexually-suggestive poses with adult drag stars and questioned why the broadcaster appeared to be endorsing child pornography.

Adding to suggestions that he has been exploited by his unemployed parents, Desmond’s Wikipedia entry reads that “Napoles identifies as gay and states that he has been out since a very early age. Napoles’ parents stated that at the age of two or three, they understood that he was ‘likely gay’ and they exposed him to a variety of gay culture, including showing him drag performances and taking him to pride parades. Napoles’ parents stated that he was ‘openly gay’ when he entered kindergarten.” Which begs questions as to the kind of material that this child may have been exposed to if he was genuinely exhibiting sexual behavior by age 5.

Demond’s latest appearance was at New York fashion week, where he made his runway debut for fashion house Gypsy Sport and ironically, in another show to raise awareness of child sex trafficking, where he modeled a gag over his mouth, emblazoned with the word “joy.”

The BBC's advocacy of Desmond comes in the wake of their decision to over-represent the LGBT community in programs during the next two years and at a time when the BBC is facing a funding crisis as more people opt for cheaper commercial subscription services instead of paying the BBC a licence fee. It’s estimated that 3.5 million people in the United Kingdom have switched off the BBC in the past four years.  

"BBC Minute" is a 60-second slot that the BBC says is targeted at “younger audiences worldwide.” It claims to give listeners a bite-sized summary of the global news that is “ruthlessly accurate and balanced.”

In the program’s closing remarks, Desmond urged listeners to “be yourself always no matter what anyone says and pay the haters no mind, because they’ll never be as fierce as you and I.”

Speaking to LifeSiteNews, Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, a group of UK parents concerned about the current spread of gender ideology, criticized the BBC, saying “in their uncritical promotion of drag kids, the BBC is complicit in the normalization of sexualized children. Under the guise of ‘being yourself,’ children are being groomed to promote a highly sexualized queer culture. This child has already learned that people who question this (culture) are ‘haters.’”

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