16 Student wins right to cross-dress on his last day of school after students protest in his favor, performs in towering heels and red dress

16-year-old Philipp Penning is a cross-dresser and has always been very open about his love of drag, so for his last day at Charlton School, in Telford, Shropshire, he planned to dress as a female for his leaving day assembly, however, the school authorities denied his request.

The drag-ban was eventually overturned after pupils of the school came out en masse to sign a petition in support of the 16-year-old. 

On the much awaited day, Philipp confidently walked into the assembly hall dressed in towering heels, a red dress and a black wig. Footage recorded at the school on Friday, May 12th, captured the teenager as he gave a rendition of "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, leaving his audience spell-bound.

Philipp previously appeared as the character ‘Edna’ in the school’s production of Hairspray and he revealed that it was that experience that inspired him to appear in drag at his final assembly before exams.

Philipp said:
 "We had the job of planning the Leavers’ Assembly and we had the help of a teacher. Recently, I performed in the school’s production of Hairspray as the character Edna. The teacher who was helping us was very impressed by the performance and suggested I did something related to that. I thought this was a brilliant idea. However, when I spoke to the other teachers about wearing a dress for the Leavers’ Assembly and possibly even wearing drag, they said they needed to think about it. That same day I was stopped before I left the building and was told I couldn’t."
To overturn the drag-ban, Philipp launched a petition and got huge support from friends. A Facebook group and website, ‘Justice for Philipp’, was also set up and in less than 24 hours, he presented staff with 283 signatures of support - and they were forced to overturn the ban.

Speaking on the experience, Philipp revealed that he was nervous prior to his performance but had the support of his friends. He also paid tribute to his mother for supporting him through it all, adding that she was the "most supportive person" and revealed that she helped him with his makeup that morning.

He said:
 "I was very nervous before the show. My friends calmed me down and helped me come up with the start of the routine, everything else was improvised. Everyone was really positive afterwards. They were all so proud of me and I can’t be more thankful. My fellow pupils were beyond supportive - every single one of them stood behind me and even set up a Facebook page. A few even came with me to argue my case to the teacher. I owe everything to the students of Charlton School."
His mum, Michele, spoke of her ‘amazement’ that so many young people had supported Philipp.
"I am so very proud of my child and support him every step of the way," she said. "I am completely amazed that so many young people have come together to support a fellow student. Slowly but surely we are becoming more accepting, tolerant and free to be who we want to be. I am very proud of my young man and happy that he has the confidence to express himself."

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