Playing dress-up: Boy banned from church-run after school club - because he wears dresses

Five-year-old Romeo Clarke has been banned from a church-run after school club - because he insists on wearing princess dresses.

The youngster has a collection of 100 dresses and eight pairs of girls' high heels which he likes to wear
every day.

But he was booted out of an after school club at his local church after organisers accused him of 'confusing' the other children with his choice of clothes.

Furious mum Georgina has lodged a complaint with the church claiming they are discriminating against her son.

Georgina, 36, who has three other children, fumed: '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 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 his mum 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 a week for kids aged 5-7 to to attend every Wednesday from 4.30pm-6pm.

Three weeks ago, Georgina, who is also mum to Kayla, 19, Amber 18, and 12-year-old Keisha, was approached by the organisers of the group who explained that Romeo was no longer welcome.


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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 that 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 he loves going to play there.'

From a young age, Romeo has always had an eye for glitzy things, and often sits with his sisters while they get ready.  

'He has always been like a magpie since he was about two.


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

Georgina also explained that Romeo has about 100 dresses around the house, and he likes to wear something pink everyday, even just a hair clip.

'He pretty much comes home from school throws off his uniform and puts on a dress and starts singing,' she added.

'His favourite film is Frozen and loves acting out the role of the princesses with his sisters.

'Romeo 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.

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

Romeo's dad, builder Winston Morris, 42, 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, defended the controversial 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.'