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Jamie: ideal at sixteen


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BBC three’s series of ‘Extraordinary Me’ has returned for a new season. The documentary style programs focus on extraordinary young people with inspiring stories to tell. Jamie Campbell

The characters range from 16-22 and have all been faced with overwhelming difficulties. They defy the odds and end up representing strong, resilient and courageous young people.

The stories touch upon, challenging the prejudices of society, living with the knowledge of imminent death and the narrow escape made when raised in the Rwandan genocide.

The episode shown on the 20th of July tells the tale of sixteen year old Jamie Campbell. He lives in County Durham with his mother and is sick of hiding his passion.

Surrounded by a support network of family he plans to unveil himself as a drag queen at the school prom. Coming out as gay at fourteen he has already overcome one hurdle and speaks about the taunting at school.

The school hears of his plans for prom and tells him they have received a complaint which describes his idea to wear a dress as ‘disgusting’.

He ignores the advice stating; “I’m not going to make these people think that they’ve changed me.”

The foul mouthed parent is firmly shut up when Jamie arrives at prom looking incredible in a long black dress and sky scraper heels. A huge crowd of his fellow pupils rally outside the entrance to make their stand against the disapproving teachers. He is granted access to the prom, following a ridiculous debate on whether he should be let in or not after being advised by the school to wear a suit.

By being true to himself he gains respect of the school, the drag act scene- who after seeing his act offer him the opportunity to perform in front of thousands and his family who have stood by him all the way.

Speaking of how he has grown up feeling like he had to hide away, sneaking off as a child to raid his mothers wardrobe highlights the prejudice that still surrounds society. The terms normal/abnormal and the connotations of good/bad are challenged throughout the entire BBC 3 series.

Walking around in heels it is clear he was born to wear there is no doubt that this is a passion imbedded within his genetic makeup.

His confidence and ability to ignore any audiences when practicing his drag act display a natural ability to perform and he is clearly an outrageously talented dancer and entertainer.

The only rejection comes from his father. Jamie confronts him face to face to tell him of his wish to be a drag queen, only to wake up the morning after prom to find a text message from him. He said Jamie had ruined everybody’s night for his own self gain and the end of the message suggests the end of the relationship.

Undeterred Jamie points out the immaturity, rises above it and states “this is just the beginning”.

I believe a myth still exists that the marginalised parts of society are wrongs that need to be righted. Although huge progress has been made since the days of homosexuality being considered a criminal act I still come across the idea that there seems to be an ultimate human being. Anything that strays from this make-up is sometimes considered the result of errors that have happened during growth.

The TV presenter and comedian Simon Amstell hits the nail on the head when addressing parentel disappointment in offsprings chosen partners. He states "surely love is the ideal".

Surely a happy and self accepted person is the ideal.

The ultimate being is someone who accepts themselves for who they are and doesn’t let anything or anybody change this.

No-one should have to live a life of secrecy in fear of the judgements of other people. Our differences make us who we are and the celebratory nature of the series is hopefully a theme that will firmly embed itself into society for future generations.

Why would anyone want to be ordinary?

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