The small southwestern English town of Axbridge held its annual Blackberry carnival this weekend, but officials encountered an unusual challenge when auditions for the Carnival Queen were held.
David Birch, 15, showed up to audition with the rest of the girls in town, according to the Daily Mail. Confronted with this issue for the first time, city officials decided to elect two carnival queens, David and a “traditional” queen.
Said the Carnival chairman: “We had to decide which would offend people least – including the boy or leaving him out. It was felt we couldn’t eliminate him just because he was male. This was the best solution on the day. Some people might be offended but we would rather be inclusive than exclusive. It’s hard enough to get people involved as it is.”
There were some threats of egg-throwing and vocal objections, like this rant from one grandmother: “How can you have a boy as a carnival queen? It’s completely ridiculous. It has to be a girl, just like it has been for years. The notion that you could let a young boy do it just to give him something to do is just stupid – it’s PC gone mad.”
Birch lives with a foster parent who was completely supportive: “There are going to be negatives, he has already experienced discrimination because he is a young gay teenager. We told him about the consequences of the media attention because it’s a controversial matter – a man becoming a carnival queen. But he was mature enough to make a decision and he chose to go for it. He is such an extrovert he has just loved it all. We all cheered for him on Saturday but I was scared and apprehensive because it only takes one person to ruin it all. We were very happy with everything and pleased that the alternative fete Queen is a boy. I wasn’t scared that David was too young to be pigeonholed at 15-years-old. From the moment I met him I had no doubt in my mind that he was sure of his sexuality – he is definitely gay.”
As for Birch, a picture says a thousand words. And it looks like he’s got the wave down pat.