Alabama student left out of yearbook for wearing tuxedo instead of dress

An LGBT+ student in Alabama who wore a tuxedo instead of a dress for her high-school photo has been left out of her senior yearbook.

Holley Gerelds, a senior student at Springville High School in Alabama, who identifies as part of the LGBT+ community, said she wore the tuxedo because she wanted to be herself in her senior picture.

Gerelds said that the school’s photographer told her it was fine for her to wear the formal tuxedo, complete with white shirt and bow tie.

“I said, ‘Can I please wear the tux?’ It’s what I’m more comfortable in. I feel like if I was to wear the drape, it’s not me and kind of humiliating,” Gerelds said.

When she received the yearbook, her name had the words “not pictured” next to it.

“I hate to say it, but I’m used to it. I saw it coming,” Gerelds said. “I honestly just laughed… I feel like I did nothing wrong. I paid. I was on time.”

Mike Howard, the schools superintendent for the Alabama county where Springville High School is based, said in a statement that senior portraits “were taken in accordance with long-standing school guidelines”, adding that the district is “reevaluating those guidelines to consider what changes, if any, need to be made”.

“I can confirm that the composite photograph of the Springville High School Class of 2019 will include all students that participated in the senior portrait process, regardless of their choice of attire.”

“In addition, we are reprinting a page of Springville High School’s recent yearbook to correct the misspelling of a student’s name and to include all students, regardless of their choice of attire,” he said.

Gerelds said she wants to shed light on this issue to ensure other students don’t have to go through what she has.

“There’s another girl just like me that wants to wear a tux and she gets to wear a tux or another boy like me or anybody who identifies as anything in the world, that they get to wear what they want. That’s what I want,” she said.