Should schools end gender-segregation in graduation gowns?Some schools in Montgomery County did so this spring:
(from a Washington Post article June 7):
"Chloe Martin-Poteet will be wearing a white cap and gown when she graduates this month. Her brother, Julian, will be dressed in royal blue. It’s part of a two-color tradition at James Hubert Blake High School: girls in one hue, boys in another.
That tradition is ending.
As a growing number of the nation’s schools work to embrace transgender students and enact policies to protect their rights, there’s a movement afoot in Maryland’s Montgomery County to make graduation robes gender-neutral, with one color for all. Some students argue that no one should have to wear a garment that doesn’t reflect who they are, nor should there be any separation between the genders as they all cross into adulthood.
“Some people say it’s just a color, but if it is just a color, why can’t they all be the same color so we can be inclusive?” asks Chloe, a leader in her school’s gay-straight alliance, which has pressed for change in letters to principals at the county’s 25 high schools."
Most high schools in Fairfax County assign different-colored robes to male and female graduates, either giving no choice or a hobson's choice to students who may not want to make their gender the most noticeable thing about themselves on graduation day. In other traditions of senior year, such as senior photographs, there are often strict dress codes as to what males and females can wear.
Contacts with the school board indicate that these are local school decisions, and principals often say they are up to the student government or senior class sponsors and officers.
How important is it to get these policies changed, and how do we go about doing it? Do individual students and parents address the individual school's administration or student government? Do GSAs lobby for a change? Do we wait until the regulations on gender identity (promised for late September come out)?