By Harriet Whitehead
Meet the sassy schoolboy who loves transforming himself into his drag alter ego Francesca.
Fabian Butler, eight, started wearing dresses and make-up after being inspired by hit TV show Ru Paul’s Drag Race telling his mum ‘I want to be like that’.
Now the natural performer gets dressed up whenever he can and happily tells those who don’t accept who he is to ‘go away’.
The youngster, who tells people he’s a boy who likes girl’s clothes, has even won praise from one of his idols, drag queen Courtney Act.
Mum Rachel Butler, 44, said she couldn’t be prouder of her son and loves telling him ‘babe that looks great’ when he experiments with his outfits.
Rachel, from Gwent, Wales, said: “Fabian knows he’s a boy but he just loves wearing dresses.
“He loves the drag queen scene and he’s really determined that that’s what he wants to do.
“It started when he was about four or five. He would put my shoes on and walk around and play in them.
“I thought it was a phase he would grow out of.
“When my mum came to visit us she would bring necklaces and bracelets and he would be fascinated by her jewellery. He loved jewels and sparkly things.
“He would notice if I’d had my nails done and at school would comment on his teacher’s nails.
“For Halloween he would want to dress as a witch so we bought him a witch’s outfit and he’d ask for monster high dolls for Christmas.
“He was also an angel in the school play so he’d keep wearing the outfit around the house.
“He started watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and was fascinated by it especially drag queen Courtney Act. He would say ‘I want to be like that’.
“My husband and I went to see Courtney Act and got a message for Fabian from her. He broke down in tears when he saw it.
“He was so overwhelmed. He couldn’t believe he had a message from her. That gave him confidence.”
Full-time mum Rachel said Fabian loves transforming himself into his alter ego ‘Francesca’ and spends hours dressing up and walking the catwalk at home.
She said the schoolboy doesn’t want to change gender he just likes wearing girl’s clothes.
Rachel said: “He knows he’s a boy and just likes drag.
“If he’s not in school uniform he’ll be wearing a dress. He goes to the park in a dress and some people say ‘what have you got on?’. He doesn’t care. He tells them it’s what he wants.
“If people call him gay or a girl he just says ‘I’m not gay. I’m Fabian and I like dressing as a girl’. He handles it really well and is confident enough to hit back at them.
“On one occasion he did get a bit upset but I told him just to ignore them.
“He’ got that much confidence now. He always says ‘check me out’.
“I just think ‘why should he not be able to do it?'”
“I took him to see my transgender friend and he loved it. He tried on all her high heels.
“He sat and talked to her and she asked him if he wanted to be a girl and he said he wants to be a boy and just likes dressing up as a girl and doing drag.
“He’s so open minded. He thinks everybody should be able to wear what they want and be who they like.
“I just want to do the best I can for him to help him on this journey.”
Fabian, who loves shopping with his mum, said: “When I put a dress on and I’m in glamour mode I’m Francesca.
“I always put a dress on when I come home from school and if I’m not at school I’ll wear one all day.
“The way I got into it was watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and Courtney Act. She inspires me.
“What I like is that girls have long hair, how they look and all the high heels. I like the make-up.
“My cousins would do my make up for me but I’ve been doing it by myself for about two months now. I love contouring, eyeshadow and blusher.
“I’m a boy and I like wearing girls’ clothes and dresses.
“It’s my dream to be a drag queen. I would love to win Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
“So far I’ve not got any wigs but I really want one. I’ve got my clip with the pink hair. Pink and purple are my favourite colours.
“When I’m older I’d love to have my own walk in wardrobe and a stand for my high heels.
“Some of my friends call me gay, lesbian and dyke but I tell them the only boys I kiss are my grandpa and my dad.
“I explain to them I like being myself and if they don’t like it then they can go away from me. I feel like I’ve been myself for a couple of years and I would say to anyone just be yourself.”
Rachel said her friends and the community really support Fabian and the youngster even offers to do make-up for his neighbours.
Rachel said: “He loves make up. He lets me put it on him sometimes but he usually does it himself.
“He’s got all the kit and is becoming an expert in contouring.
“He tells all the neighbours that he’ll do their make up for them before they go out. He goes on about contouring and has been showing me how to do it.
“He loves sparkle and glitter and his favourite costume is the angel costume.
“For the school play last year people were saying ‘Fabian why do you want to be an angel?’ and he said ‘because I am an angel’.
“At school they’re fab with him. Everyone loves him and accepts him for who he is.
“Before he broke up for the summer holidays they had non-uniform day and we bought him a pink hair clip with a plait which he wore.
“When he was walking to school he was flicking this plait around and the more people that looked at him the more he flicked it.
“When his brother went to his prom this year Fabian said ‘when I’m 16 I’m going to the prom in a dress’.”
Rachel said Fabian’s dad, 40-year-old machine operator Darren Butler, and siblings Olivia, 24, and Ellis, 16, are all proud of Fabian.
Rachel said: “I’ve really supported him. From the beginning I was fully behind him.
“I wouldn’t want to change him for the world. It’s just him. Everyone thinks ‘ah it’s just Fab’ that’s who he is.
“His dad took a bit longer to come to terms with it but he’s fully behind him and supports him.
“My daughter thinks he’s fantastic and he’s always doing her make up.
“There’s no one telling him he can’t do it. I’m behind him 100 per cent. I always tell him ‘babe that looks really good’.”
Rachel, who regularly goes shopping with Fabian for girly stuff, described her son as a proper performer who loves singing, drama and gymnastics – and is convinced he’ll have a career on stage.
Rachel said: “Last week we saw 11 year old Leo Noakes on television and Fabian said ‘that’s what I want to be. I want to be on television’.
“He’s always in the house walking around like it’s a catwalk and he loves singing. He likes Dua Lipa, Sia and Lady Gaga.
“If he could wear a dress everyday he would. He wants to be a drag queen – that’s his dream.”