CPS clears mom of 11-year-old drag kid who danced in gay bar for tips

Child drag star Desmond Napoles, whose stage name is Desmond is Amazing, poses in this 2018 video.
Child drag star Desmond Napoles, whose stage name is Desmond is Amazing, poses in this 2018 video. | Screenshot: YouTube/Desmond is Amazing

The mother of an “androgynous" gay drag kid who was videoed dancing in a gay bar before a crowd of men throwing dollar bills at him says she has been cleared of wrongdoing by child services.

Wendy Napoles, the mother of 11-year-old Desmond Napoles (known by his stage name “Desmond is Amazing”), went on her son’s Instagram page this week to inform followers that she is no longer under investigation by the state of New York for child abuse.

She and Desmond's father, Andrew, were the subjects of over 150 complaints to authorities after their son was seen in a viral videodancing in a gay bar in New York City last December while dressed in girl’s makeup, a blonde wig, high heels and a crop top.

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On Sunday, the mother posted a picture to social media showing a letter from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. In her post, she explained that she had been accused of child abuse, “exploitation, and maltreatment.”

"The report was determined to be 'unfounded,'" a letter from Sheila McBain, director of the statewide central register of the New York Office of Children and Family Services reads. "This means that CPs did not find believable proof (credible evidence) that a child was abused or maltreated."

She stated that she was “backed into a corner” and had to defend herself after reports were received by authorities. Their case even got the attention of the governor’s office.

“Recently a YouTube video was made stating that we should allow ACS (CPS) to investigate if we have nothing to hide. Which we have & we do not have anything to hide,” Napoles wrote. “We have been under a microscope since early December. I never thought I would have to breach my own privacy & confidentiality to provide proof that has been demanded of us out of malice.”

After a thorough investigation filled with announced and unannounced visits by the agency, Napoles said that investigators found that all allegations were “unfounded.”

“Currently, we send screenshots of anyone encouraging others or admitting to contacting ACS to ACS to keep in our file,” she explained. “ACS is not a weapon. So many ACS resources could have gone to families that needed help. On the plus side, ACS has been offering us many support services.”

Napoles added that she was also investigated by the NYPD, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Child Advocacy Center, the Department of Labor and the district attorney’s office.

“No abuse or maltreatment was found,” she wrote. “No regulations for child performers were broken. No illegal activity has occurred.”

The mother said that she and her family are victimized by “hate crimes and death threats” perpetrated by “concerned citizens.” Additionally, she said that the family has been stalked.

“The NYPD is assisting us. Desmond has extra security measures in place at his school,” the mother explained. “All of this because we allow Desmond to be himself & do what he loves. We are a loving and supporting family. Anyone who knows us or met us can attest to that.”

In early November, Desmond Napoles was in the national spotlight when he was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where he dressed as a woman as he danced down the red carpet before being interviewed.

After his dance at the 3 Dollar Bill gay club in Brooklyn last year was criticized by conservative media, Wendy Napoles defended her decision to allow her son to dance at the gay club and collect tips.

Critics had accused her son of essentially stripping at a gay night club. Some even argued that Napoles' dance at the gay night club is not much different than having an 11-year-old girl dance in a men's cabaret club.  

“The truth is, my son is a professional drag performer, not a stripper,” she wrote in a Facebook post in January, adding that sometimes drag performers collect tips. “No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.”

She asserted that her son does not dance in a sexual manner. She also called the complaints against her family nothing but “blatant homophobia.”

“He was a ballet dancer for four years and is currently earning an A+ grade in drama at his school,” Napoles stressed. “He is extremely talented in his celebrity and character impersonations. His costumes are less revealing than a dancer’s or cheerleader’s uniform, and are always age appropriate.”

In an op-ed, columnist and radio host Karen Kataline explained why she reported the Napoles family to child protective services.

“Children are being exploited as pawns in the very adult, high stakes war of victim and gender politics. Consequently, we are not only watching ‘Princess by Proxy,’ but ‘Politics by Proxy’ as well,” Katalina wrote. “As children are thrust into adult sexuality and adult political agendas, real adults are regressing into childlike behavior.”

“The antidote for these intergenerational role-reversals and the way to protect the current generation of children is for parents to step into their roles as adults and take responsibility for their lives, political attitudes, and opinions,” she added.

“They must also be educated about healthy child development and age-appropriateness. Only then will their children have the best chance to realize and pursue their own individual identity and dreams.”

Desmond Napoles is not the only child drag star that has made headlines in recent months. In January, 10-year-old Canadian boy Nemis Quinn Mélançon-Golden (stage name is Queen Lactacia) was featured in Huck Magazine.

In one photo that did not make it into the publication, the child is shown in full drag makeup and a black dress posing with a man wearing nothing but a pair of heels and a small piece of fabric covering his genital area. That man was the Season 7 winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Violet Chachki.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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