Trans girl forced to miss graduation after being told to dress ‘like a boy’

A picture of a person during graduation with a rainbow flag on their cap.

A transgender teenager has recalled feeling “shamed and humiliated” after her high school requested her to wear “pants, socks and shoes, like a boy”.

The 17-year-old Mississippi girl was reportedly told to follow Harrison County School District’s male clothing policy despite her gender identity.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the teenager’s parents were told by the District’s superintendent, Mitchell King, that she had to follow the boys’ clothing rules.

Male graduates are expected to wear white shirts and black slacks, while girls are expected to wear white dresses, according to the district’s policy which was reported by the Associated Press.

ACLU staff attorney Linda Morris filed a discrimination lawsuit against Harrison Central High School on Thursday (18 May) on behalf of the teenager, who is named in court filings as LB.

Mississippi district judge Taylor McNeel did not to block the school’s orders in a ruling on Friday (19 May) that Morris called “as disappointing as it is absurd.”

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“Our client is being shamed and humiliated for explicitly discriminatory reasons, and her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter’s life,” she said.

“No one should be forced to miss their graduation because of their gender.”

Following the ruling, the ACLU confirmed that, despite being eligible to receive a diploma, the teenager chose not to attend the ceremony on Saturday.

Harrison County School District’s attorney, Wynn Clark, wrote in court papers that taking part in a graduation ceremony is voluntary and not protected by the Constitution.

She said that the female student had “met the qualifications to receive a diploma“, but had rejected the request to wear “pants, socks and shoes, like a boy.”

In an ACLU blog post, Morris wrote that dress codes can’t be “explicitly discriminatory”, she noted that students must be allowed to “wear clothing consistent with their gender identity and expression”.

She wrote: “The clothing, accessories and hairstyles we wear are part of how we express our identity, and because schools cannot force students to conform their appearance or behaviour based on rigid and discriminatory gender norms.”

PinkNews has reached out to Harrison County School District for comment.