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Saturday, February 24, 2024

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Drag queen praised for visit to London primary school, teaching acceptance and empathy

Recently Drag queen, Dolly Trolley, visited a primary school, sharing values of compassion, respect and equality. We wanted to put this piece out in response to an article in another media outlet trying to paint a picture of negativity when in fact it was overwhelmingly positive.

Dolly’s activities included reading stories to the children about kindness, acceptance, friendship and diversity. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from parents at the school

Dolly Trolley said: “Last week I had the pleasure of being a part of a school’s inclusivity week and my time at the school was an overwhelmingly positive experience, sharing essential values of compassion, respect and equality with pupils. I engaged with the children in a positive, age-appropriate manner with teachers present at all times, including reading story books to the children about kindness, acceptance, friendship and diversity. Children were invited to share their thoughts, ask me any questions they liked, and invited to volunteer to tell their classmates about what they had come dressed as for “This Is Me”, and they applauded each other.

“I was bowled over by how smart, polite, accepting, enthusiastic, appreciative, kind, caring and respectful the children were. The younger years were also interested in my favourite type of cake and my favourite colour, and one remarked that I looked like Elsa in my big shiny dress.

Credits “Captured by Corinne” Dolly Trolley

“For upper key stage 2, I did a fun, upbeat lipsync performance to Kim Wilde’s Born to Be Wild, which is completely choreographed, Wild West inspired dance moves and culminating in galloping like a horse and perfect for children. The room was full of smiles and laughter. I taught them my favourite power pose and asked how this made them feel. The responses were: brave, confident, powerful, strong. I taught them how to find their own ‘power walk’ and one disco dance move. They had the opportunity to ask me questions – I was asked about my life as a performer, my other passions (such as cooking), and some about different gender identities – all discussions were led by children’s questions with members of staff present, and they were also interested in how many times I fall over on stage. Everything was positive.

I know the response has been overwhelmingly positive from parents at the school, such as,

“Thank you for contributing to giving my children a wonderful day”,

“I was so proud to be a parent. You were and are amazing. Keep shining bright”,

“the children were BUZZING”,

“you really inspired them to be their true selves”.

Credit: “Captured by Corinne” Dolly Trolley

There has also been a lot of support from beyond too:

“every child should experience this inclusion, acceptance and love”,

“I grew up under section 28. It makes me so happy to see that, despite it all, real progress has been made”

“would be great to get you to my daughter’s school”,

“I wish my nephew’s school would do this”

“It makes me hopeful for future generations and our education system”

“I work in a primary school”… “what lucky kids”

(sourced from facebook and Instagram comments and direct messages)

Credit: “Captured by Corinne” Dolly Trolley

“The coverage of my visit has, unfortunately, relied on offensive and inaccurate stereotypes of queerness, that only demonstrate why my visit was so important. We learned about freedom of expression, community and joy. I have taken my own advice that I taught on the day when asked if I ever get judged or criticised – strike your power pose, be resilient, know that you are wonderful and that other people are wrong and believe in yourself. I have really appreciated the outpouring of messages of love and support that I have received. I am choosing to focus on the joy and love that my visit brought, knowing that I was both lots of fun and highly educational.

“Children have a right to freedom of expression under the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child: this includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds. This goes hand in hand with the fundamental principle of non-discrimination. The school’s commitment to ensuring this right is admirable. The impact on children who are LGBTQIA+ cannot be overstated, and there is a broader impact of messaging of love and inclusivity to all pupils which is vital.

“If I had experienced this at school, I could have been saved from many years of misery. I was very emotional afterwards about my hope for the next generation.

“I’m a diverse performer and very proud of the work I do: such as the online dancercise class I put on every week, Drag Aerobics, where we focus on feeling fabulous through moving our bodies with the goal of having fun. I provided this class for free during the first covid lockdown and still run it now, with our most popular routine involving bouncing around like a crab to The Little Mermaid’s Under The Sea. In December last year, I produced a fundraiser cabaret show for charities supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse, raising £1328. I love my job, which I am very proud to have since graduating from Oxford University in Mathematics in 2016.”

You can follow Dolly Trolley on Instagram @dollytrolley

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