Mississippi Judge Rules Biological Male Student Who Identifies as a Girl Cannot Cross Dress For Graduation
On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the transgender student after Harrison Central principal Kelly Fuller and school district superintendent Mitchell King told him that he must wear male attire at the graduation ceremony.
“Defendants have offered no rationale that could justify the severe and ongoing deprivation of Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights to be free from gender discrimination,” the complaint read, according to a report from Newsweek.
An attorney for the school district argued that graduation is voluntary and not constitutionally protected for any student.
Young men must wear a white button-down shirt, black dress pants, black dress shoes, and a tie or bowtie to the ceremony. The student wanted to wear high heels and a dress.
U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel in Gulfport, appointed by former President Donald Trump, sided with the school on Friday.
In light of the ruling, the student has reportedly decided not to attend graduation.
Linda Morris, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, told the Associated Press that the judge’s decision “is as disappointing as it is absurd.”
“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,” Morris said. “No one should be forced to miss their graduation because of their gender.”
The student claims that attending graduation in the appropriate attire would be humiliating.
“My graduation is supposed to be a moment of pride and celebration and school officials want to turn it into a moment of humiliation and shame,” the student, identified only as L.B. said in a press release. “The clothing I’ve chosen is fully appropriate for the ceremony and the superintendent’s objections to it are entirely unfair to myself, my family and all transgender students like me. I have the right to celebrate my graduation as who I am, not who anyone else wants me to be.