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Trans girl told to ‘dress like a boy’ for her Mississippi graduation

"Her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter’s life"

By Emily Maskell

three graduates in gowns holding up their dark blue graduation caps
Trans girl misses Mississippi graduation. (Image: Unsplash)

A transgender girl was reportedly told she had to follow the high school graduation ceremony’s male clothing policy.

The 17-year-old student in Mississippi was told to “dress like a boy,” the Associated Press reports.

Harrison Central High School in Gulfport officials said the student had to abide, despite her gender identity.

Federal Judge Taylor McNeel did not block the officials’ decision, an attorney for the girl’s family said Saturday (20 May).

“As disappointing as it is absurd”

Linda Morris, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ALCU) Women’s Rights Project, said the ruling “is as disappointing as it is absurd.”

“Our client is being shamed and humiliated for explicitly discriminatory reasons,” Morris said.

“Her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter’s life.”

“No one should be forced to miss their graduation because of their gender,” they also added.

Boys who are graduating are expected to wear white shirts and black slacks. Meanwhile, girls are expected to wear white dresses.

The ALCU sued the district on Thursday (18 May), on behalf of the student and her parents. 

“Our client is being shamed and humiliated”

It’s been reported that Mitchell King, Mississippi school district superintendent, told the students mother she couldn’t participate in the graduation ceremony unless she wears “pants, socks, and shoes, like a boy.”

The lawsuit outlines that the student had worn dresses to classes throughout high school. There is also an emphasis that her gender identity should not result in discriminatory treatment.

The student “has met the qualifications to receive a diploma,” according to Wynn Clark, attorney for the Harrison County School District.

Clark wrote in court papers that participation in the graduation ceremony is voluntary, not protected by the constitution.