Words: Alastair James; pictures: Twitter / @borjamusico
Teachers in Spain have been giving lessons in tolerance (as well as their regular lessons) after a schoolboy was expelled for wearing a skirt last year - and nine months on, more are continuing to join the movement in response to bullying in the classroom.
Last month, two more teachers decided to be the best kind of teachers and showed up in skirts to teach the kids about the power of words and taking a stance on diversity.
Manuel Ortega, 37, and Borja Velázquez, 36, from the public school Virgen de Sacedón in Valladolid, Spain, are the latest to join a campaign that has been building in the country since the end of last year.
“Dress how you want!”
The two teachers sya they felt compelled to act after witnessing one of their own students being bullied for their love of Manga (comics or graphic novels originating from Japan) designs.
Ortega and Velázquez have since gone viral donning skirts in aid of acceptance, explaining their reasoning to Teen Vogue as, "to show that we should be open to change and that words cause harm."
Un cole que educa en el respeto, la diversidad, la coeducaión y la tolerancia. ¡Vístete como quieras! Nos sumamos a la inicitiva #LaRopaNoTieneGénero @CEIPVdeSacedon @educacyl @cfievalladolid @FTriangulo @fecylgtb pic.twitter.com/GgnoejXe2N— Borja Velázquez (@borjamusico) April 29, 2021
Velázquez wrote on Twitter: “A school that educates with respect, diversity, co-education and tolerance. Dress how you want! We join the campaign #clotheshavenogender. And the pair say they’ve seen a positive change from students since taking action.
“20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in the institute where I am now a teacher”
The #ClothesHaveNoGender – or #LaRopaNoTieneGenero – campaign started last October, when another student, Mikel Gomez, 15, was expelled and referred to a psychologist after wearing a skirt to a school in Bilbao in the Basque Country.
No me daba tiempo a contarlo todo☠️##parati♬ original sound - Mikel Gómez
Gomez has since taken to TikTok to draw more attention to the issue, explaining he saw a similar movement building in other countries and wanted to follow suit… or skirt…
His actions have in turn inspired others, including maths teacher, Joe Piñas, also in the Basque area, being one of the first to swap the trousers for skirts in November. Sadly, he posted on Twitter saying he sees little change in people’s attitudes from when he was at school.
“20 years ago I suffered persecution and insults for my sexual orientation in the institute where I am now a teacher. Many teachers, they looked the other way. I want to join the cause of the student, Mikel, who has been expelled and sent to the psychologist for going to class with a skirt.”
Hace 20años sufrí persecución e insultos xmi orientación sexual en el instituto en el q ahora soy profesor, muchs profes, miraron para otro lado. Quiero unirme a la causa del alumno, Mikel, q ha sido expulsado y enviado al psicólogo por ir a clase con falda. #LaRopaNoTieneGenero pic.twitter.com/5PEN9vityY— Jose Piñas (@joxepinas) November 9, 2020
The teachers and students hope that the movement will help encourage people to change their perceptions of gender and gender stereotypes.
So far they've mostly had a positive reaction, with the expected critics questioning the need for this type of movement (eyeroll). But like most people, we love it. Classrooms need more role models like this.