King’s College London student Tim Clifton-Wright brought a touch of glamour to his graduation ceremony when he decided to strut it out in a a pair of towering red heels.
The openly gay BSC Physics graduate – who picked up a First, FYI – made the fabulous move on the same day England and Wales marked 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Speaking exclusively to Gay Times, Tim said: “I wore the heels for the same reason I wore them to Pride, a combination of being comfortable in who I am and a need for increased LGBT visibility in a complacent society.
“It’s an overwhelming desire to put my middle finger up to ‘the man’ – and let’s face it, they look fabulous!”
Proudly wearing the heels under his gown, Tim was joined by his family who cheered and applauded as he took his moment in the spotlight – much to the enjoyment of the audience.
His bold and defiant act of individuality earned him booming cheers from his fellow graduates and family members.
“I was really nervous when getting ready to go on stage,” he explained. “I worried that people might laugh at me or that they wouldn’t react, so I planned on just making an understated walk and handshake and getting it over with.
“When I walked on stage and heard the whole room cheering and clapping me though it gave me a bit more confidence and let me have a bit of fun with it.”
Watch Tim strut into his graduation below with this exclusive Gay Times footage…
But such a glorious move wasn’t spoken about with his family beforehand, he tells us.
“I hadn’t discussed it with anyone beforehand as I was worried they’d talk me out of it,” he said. “I was really nervous when I was putting my gown and shoes on – a lovely Vivienne Westwood gown – that my mother would be angry or my step-father would feel embarrassed or ashamed.
“They were both really amazing about it, they realised why I wanted to do it and why it meant more than just an attention-seeking stunt to me.”
Telling us that he’d always felt supported about being openly LGBT+ by King’s College London, staff at the university also added their congratulations after the ceremony.
“The only comments I got from the university were that the Provost and Treasurer on stage, Professor Evelyn Welch (Florence Welch’s mum) and Michael D’Souza, both complimented me on my shoes,” he said.
“My quantum mechanics lecturer, Carla Molteni, met me afterwards to congratulate me both for my degree and for being able to walk in the six-inch heels.
“I had a few people come up to me afterwards and congratulate me. I also had a chat with the mother of the guy who was behind me in line, Josh Carr, who was in my year studying Physics and Philosophy. She said she loved the shoes, but that it did meant that they had to read Josh’s name out twice!
“Graduation is a day to be proud of myself! If I can’t do that in towering, glittery heels: what’s the point?”
We couldn’t agree more. WERK!