After years of attempting to talk him out of it, one father eventually learned to accept his son’s passion and now supports him in his career as the youngest drag queen in the UK
Being a parent is the biggest blessing in life, but it comes with its own challenges. What many people fail to understand is that the role of a parent is just to guide, care for, and support, and not to create his own reflection, or someone he dreamed of becoming in life.
Fortunately, one father, Darren Butler, realized this before it became too late.
After the birth of his son Fabian, Darren took him in his arms and fantasized about his little man, the times when the two of them would play football together, thought of teaching him boxing, and everything he enjoyed in his childhood.
However, as soon as he turned eight, his son, who lives in Gwent, South Wales, abandoned all the sports and shocked his father by telling him he wants to dress up in the clothes of his mum.
Darren felt embarrassed thinking about his friends’ reactions, and tried everything he could to persuade his son to lay off his latest “phase”.
Now at the age of 11, Fabian performs as one of the youngest drag queens in the whole country, as alter ego Francheska Valley – and Darren takes him to gigs with pleasure and even helps him in his choice of outfits for his performances.
- Fabian Butler, 11, from Gwent, Wales, performs as his drag alter-ego Francheska Valley
Darren, who works as a machine operator, said:
“I was the opposite when I was younger. When you have your first boy, you have expectations. I used to box as a kid so I always hoped that he would grow up and want to pursue boxing. I would take him to play football with me and you could see that it wasn’t for him.
When he started dressing up, I was in denial, I just thought it was kids being kids at an age like that.
I just thought he was going through a phase but when I spoke to my wife about it and realized that it wasn’t a phase, I was hurt.”
- His father Darren, a machine operator, have learned to accept his passion for drag
- Fabian with his parents. He started using his mom’s makeup when he was five.
His wife talked him into going to his first performance even though he didn’t want to go. Yet, when he saw the happiness that his son was feeling on stage, he suddenly realized how much it meant to him.
This brought a tear to his eye and realized that his son can’t live his life according to the expectations and has to live his own dream.
Now, he claims he is the proudest dad in the entire world! Fabian started dressing up when he was just five-years-old, using his mum Rachel’s makeup and jewelry.
- Francheska Valley in red and gold embellished heels at home
- Fabian never wanted to follow his father’s footsteps
- Francheska Valley with blonde locks and a florescent avant-garde makeup
When he would come home from school he would tell his parents how much he admired the clothes of his teachers, and would secretly take Rachel’s clothes and try them on.
His mother, who is a cook, explained that she sees all of this as normal, as she has grown with him through it and there was no need for a formal conversation about that.
As the boy got older, she used to buy him makeup which led to a lot of arguments between her and her husband but Fabian is simply very happy wearing it.
- The mother, Rachel, explained that she argued with her husband when she first bought makeup for her son
- Darren now claims to be ‘the proudest Dad in the world’
- Fabian urges others to do what they love and adds that he is very happy for his dad’s support
Despite Fabian’s wishes, Darren signed him up to a football club when he was six, trying to involve him in sports. However, he explains that Fabian wasn’t happy, he preferred the drama club and gymnastics group.
When he tried to involve him in boxing, he replied that he doesn’t like to get his lip split. The father found it very difficult to accept it, which led to lots of arguments in the family.
- Fabian as his drag act Francheska Valley with his parents
- The talented boy became fascinated with Ru Paul’s Drag Race and started experimenting with different outfits
“When he was seven, he started wearing makeup more often and Darren would tell him to take it off which would leave Fabian very upset. It caused arguments because I would say -- look how good he looks! It took a while for Darren to come round to the idea of him wearing makeup.
Fabian would tell Darren that he was just doing his makeup to show him and he was so upset when Darren would tell him to take it off. Sometimes he would go and take it off but there were a lot of tears -- it was frustrating for me because I could see how talented Fabian was at doing his makeup.”
- Darren was ‘taken aback’ by his son’s performance at DragCon in London
But when Darren saw Fabian’s performance with his drama club for the first time in Newbridge, he instantly realized how much talent for performing his boy possesses.
“He had his own act and performed Ariana Grande’s God is a Woman in front of 200 people on stage. He started drama club when he was nine and this was his first opportunity to perform.
I was really nervous about going but when I saw him performing, it brought a tear to my eye.”
Rachel added that Fabian’s eyes filled up with tears and he said that he is so glad his father is here to watch him.
She has advised him to show his dad what he is capable of and he went and gave an awesome performance. After the show, Darren gave him the biggest hug and there were tears of joy from both of them.
Now Fabian is enjoying his father’s full support, who even takes him shopping for new outfits.
Darren says that he is going to charity shops with him, looking for heels and jewelry, and he states that he is definitely making progress. He now gives Fabian compliments when he likes his makeup and he fully supports him.
- Fabian at age eight, into his drag alter ego, Francesca
When they went to DragCon in London in January, the father was taken aback by the number of other drag queens coming up to him and telling him how they wished they had a father who supports him in the same way he supports his son.
He claims that in this way, he understood how difficult it must have been for his son until he learned to accept his passion. There, Fabian “did a lip-sync in front of 7,000 people to a Ru Paul song and people wanted to take pictures with him.”
The boy explained that one has to know what he loves the most in life, no matter the age, and has to live in his own way.
He added that he is thrilled that his father supports him, and his favorite thing, which means a lot to him, is when his father tells him he loves him. His biggest wish was his father to support him and be proud of him, and the entire situation brought the family together.