Drag queen teaches pupils about conversion therapy in ‘spectacular safeguarding fail’


A drag queen has triggered a backlash for teaching children about controversial conversion therapy.

Aida H Dee, the persona behind Drag Queen Story Hour UK (DQSH), was invited to lecture 11-year-olds at Lewis School Pengam in Wales about the practice, suicide statistics and “queerness”.

But concerns have been raised over the “spectacular safeguarding fail” given that the drag queen recently helped raise money for the funeral of a child rapist “taken unjustly”, has posted on social media about “orgies” and said that “love has no age”.

DQSH is run by Sab Samuel, a 27-year-old autistic male children’s author who performs as Dee in a tight sequined outfit, and has recently sparked protests in council libraries and the Tate, leading to police escorts.

Mr Samuel said that in five sessions at the secondary school on Monday, a pupil asked him whether gay people could be made “not gay”, to which he said “no”, while another asked: “Did you ever think about killing yourself?”

He shared how “not a single child knows what the word ‘camp’ means” when he asked, and taught the pupils “to understand that queer is an identity”, as well as about the 1988 Section 28 law, Pride events, living as a gay person and Martha P Johnson, the late US drag queen.

Drag Queen Story Hour UK is run by Sab Samuel, a 27-year-old autistic male children’s author who performs as Aida H Dee

After the sessions, the DQSH Twitter account posted three photos of the children watching the classes, which were then deleted.

In 2020, Estyn, the Welsh government’s Ofsted, hailed Lewis School Pengam, founded in 1729, as an example of best practice on LGBT issues in a guide for other schools on “promoting inclusion”.

The shadow education minister for Wales, Laura Anne Jones MS, told The Telegraph that “it’s extremely concerning that this is happening in schools in Wales” and “highly inappropriate for him to be in this kind of environment”.

She said: “The first question to ask is why is it necessary to have a drag queen in a school environment? There are far better and more appropriate role models out there.

“Our children deserve far better than to have a known highly sexualised and biased individual coming in to indoctrinate them and talk about delicate subjects, such as suicide and sexuality.”

DQSH advertises “storytime” sessions in schools across the UK for children as young as five.

Mr Samuel has previously explained that “people think I’m something that I’m actually not”, saying that his readings can act as a “catalyst” for children to begin “living their true selves” and avoid the “horrendous mental health battle” he suffered as a child.

Protests against Drag Queen Story Time at various libraries across Bristol took place in  July 2022

Protests took place in July 2022 against Drag Queen Story Time at various libraries across Bristol

Tanya Carter, spokesman for Safe Schools Alliance, a group of parents and teachers, said: “Schools have a duty to ensure they do not invite in groups and individuals which when children google them, they will encounter unsuitable and adult content… Unsuitable visitors to schools will only ever push children to even darker corners of the internet.”

The Wales-Women’s Rights Network said it was a “safeguarding fail on a spectacular level”.

Cathy Larkman, of the UK-wide Women’s Rights Network, said: “Are we really telling young men that this is what it means to be gay? That it is fair game to represent women in this way?

“Schools, and our children, would be far better served by bringing in strong aspirational gay role models for their pupils, such as lesbian fire-fighters or gay barristers.”

DQSH said in a statement: “All appropriate procedures were followed by the school and by Drag Queen Story Hour UK. No photos taken in the school were taken by Aida or by anyone from Drag Queen Story Hour UK.”

A spokesman for Caerphilly council, which oversees the school, said: “All appropriate procedures were followed by the school. No concerns have been raised by the school community.”

The Welsh government did not respond to a request for comment. Estyn defended its 2020 guide as “vital to help promote and celebrate LGBT issues”.