INappropriate Attire Policies

November 13, 2009

Girls can wear dresses or pants. Right? Apparently not at prom. Sex, Etc. magazine recently reported that a 17-year-old girl in Indiana wanted to express her gender by wearing a tuxedo to prom. She was denied this girl in tuxedoright, because her school’s dress code required girls to wear dresses to prom. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit that resulted in the elimination of clothing restrictions based on sex.

You might be quick to blow this off as a rare occurrence, but issues like this come up more than you would think. At all-male, Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, there’s a new “Appropriate Attire Policy” that prohibits students from carrying purses or wearing dresses, makeup or high heels. A few weeks ago in Wesson, MS, a female student wore a tuxedo in her school picture, but the school would not allow her photograph to be published in the yearbook.

It is very discouraging that so many people and institutions are not accepting or understanding of how people choose to express their feelings of being male or female. Sadly, people often do not approve of things that they are not used to. There are many people in the world whose gender expression does not match our expectations of how guys or girls should act or dress. If we keep educating people and exposing them to the different ways that people choose to express their gender, perhaps we can eliminate the kind of discrimination these students faced.

-Melanie Johnson, 17, Staff Writer

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