On Monday, Converse announced that they have “partnered” with folks “connected to the LGBTQ+ community” to promote their new line of shoes known as the company’s “Pride Collection.” An 11-year-old child named Desmond Napoles, a so-called “drag kid” who goes by “Desmond is Amazing,” is one of the featured promoters.
“We’re happy to launch our Pride Collection, partnering with six individuals connected to the LGBTQ+ community who show the power of expressing one's true self,” Converse posted in a tweet on Monday.
The company’s site showcases a signature rainbow shoe for Desmond, who is labeled as “Drag Kid/LGBTQ+ Advocate.” Under a photo of the child posing in drag is a quote: “There is no normal."
"What started as a rebellious fight for equality has since grown into a loud, proud assertion of true self-expression,” reads the site’s Pride Collection page. “Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride with a glitter-dipped collection of parade-worthy sneakers, including our first-ever trans flag design. Because equal rights are for everyone."
“Let's spread a message of love together and shout a little louder,” the page also reads.
It’s unclear if the Napoles family has been compensated for Desmond’s work with Converse. The family has long claimed they do not take money for Desmond’s “expression” as a drag kid.
In December 2018, young Desmond performed a dance number in full-drag at a New York City-based gay bar called 3 Dollar Bill. As the child stripped off his jacket and bounced around the stage, patrons — grown men — handed him dollar bills, as one might see in a strip club.
The child’s parents were investigated by government agencies in March over accusations of abuse, The Daily Wire previously reported. However, Wendy Napoles, Desmond’s mother, said the agencies cleared her and her husband of any abuse claims.
“We have been accused of child abuse, exploitation & maltreatment to the point that we have been backed into a corner trying to defend ourselves,” Wendy wrote in an Instagram post. “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."
“ACS has investigated us thoroughly,” she continued. “Because of the number of reports they received, our case went all the way to the Governor's office. We had announced visits & unannounced visits to our home nearly daily & at all hours & Desmond's school. Our family was probed more intensely than any other case before. All allegations were ‘unfounded’. … On the plus side, ACS has been offering us many support services."
“In addition, we were investigated by the NYPD, the Child Advocacy Center, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Labor, and the District Attorney's office. No abuse or maltreatment was found. No regulations for child performers were broken. No illegal activity has occurred," added Wendy.
Desmond’s crossdressing has been promoted in the mainstream media on several occasions. For example, CNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal News Group, showcased the child as an "LGBTQ youth" advocate, last year.
"This 11-year-old drag kid is using his voice to encourage LGBTQ youth to be themselves," gushed the network.
Here’s some of the other mainstream coverage of Desmond, as outlined by The Daily Wire in December:
Desmond was promoted by NBC's TODAY Show in June. "Meet the 10-year-old ‘drag kid’ taking over social media with inspiring message," reads the caption video on Desmond. Left-wing site The Daily Beast gushed over Desmond's drag and his progressive parents in a disturbing piece from February titled, "RuPaul Loves 'Drag Kid' Desmond. You Will Too. Fiercely." The young child has been relentlessly praised and promoted by drag queen RuPaul, the host of VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race. When Desmond was just seven years old, he was featured in a music video for Season Six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Jinkx Monsoon. In the video, Desmond dances on top of a bar in a red dress, long gloves, and jewelry. As an 8-year-old, the child was introduced on a NYC stage in full-drag by actor Tituss Burgess.